| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

The CEO of “Cyberia”: The internet outage in Lebanon has become serious

CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Cyberia, Mr. Bassam Jaber, indicated that the increase in internet prices was limited to institutional and corporate customers and did not include internet service for individuals, considering that warnings of internet service interruption in general in Lebanon have become serious and it is necessary to move towards correcting the tariff to keep pace with developments. the economic taking place. He also stressed the need to regulate the sector and put an end to illegal activities, declaring the readiness of most telecom companies in Lebanon to put themselves at the service of the state in order to find appropriate solutions.

In a media interview, Jaber confirmed that “the companies that transmit information and Internet services, including the companies affiliated with our group, that is, IDM and Cyberia, are raising the prices of Internet service. However, the memo you were talking about was clear, as the price hike was limited to institutional and corporate customers, and it did not include the Internet for individuals, which has not changed yet. Our company and a group of private companies operating in Lebanon have been obliged to raise the internet service tariff for several reasons. First, the vast majority of the expenses paid by our companies are paid in fresh dollars, including maintenance parts, intellectual property and software rights, and various equipment, in addition to the cost we pay to secure electricity through private generators, including diesel and spare parts, not to mention that many of Private companies operating in Lebanon are obliged to pay part of the employees’ salaries in dollars, in order to preserve them in light of the imminent danger we face from the brain drain. It is worth noting that if we raise the Internet tariff for individuals in the foreseeable future, we will inevitably take into account the situation of citizens who do not consume the Internet much. Finally, I would like to draw attention to the fact that what happened cannot be placed in the context of raising prices, but rather it should be placed within the category of price correction, given the low purchasing power of the Lebanese pound.”

Regarding the possibility of internet service interruption in Lebanon in general, Jaber said, “These warnings are very serious, and are not absurd. Rather, they describe accurately the current situation. I cannot imagine what will happen to the Lebanese in general, whether individual citizens or companies, if the Internet service is cut off. This means that Lebanon is completely cut off from the world and lives in complete isolation and in the darkness of your condition. I will imagine with you what will happen to our habits and daily lives if the Internet is cut off.

First, it is known that the Lebanese in general, companies and individuals, use the WhatsApp application extensively, and we remember exactly what happened when the Council of Ministers decided two years ago to put a tax on the WhatsApp application. This explains how vital this application is to the Lebanese. If the Internet service is cut off, we can say goodbye to the WhatsApp application, and we will return to the era of SMS text messages. It is worth noting that the Lebanese not only use the WhatsApp application for the messaging service, but also, and extensively, for the communication service. Moreover, the potential outage of WhatsApp will affect socially, since, with the high cost of international communication, the vast majority of Lebanese families use WhatsApp to contact family members scattered all over the world, the lack of this possibility is a disaster in itself.

Secondly, the internet is a vital medium for many businesses, for example, the vast majority of Lebanese restaurants in recent years have developed a special application that allows consumers to order food. This also applies to many taxi services, and other services that have developed greatly in the past years are based on the Internet. All of these services will permanently stop with the internet outage, which will have a very negative impact on the Lebanese economy.

Third, an internet outage inevitably means a disruption to entertainment services including Netflix, Apple TV, Amazon, and all app TV streaming services. Everyone knows that the Lebanese have invested in recent years in buying smart electronic devices. If the Internet service is cut off, these devices will automatically become useless, as if we went back in time 10 years.

Fourth, with regard to education, as a pioneer in the field of the Internet for several years, we know very well that all educational institutions, whether university, educational or technical institutions, use the Internet as an educational tool, and that the educational sector, which has always been the pride of Lebanon abroad, was Lebanon is a destination for Arab students who wish to pursue a distinguished scientific study. Therefore, the educational sector will be negatively affected in the event of an internet outage.

Fifthly and finally, from an economic and social point of view, today we are facing a fourth wave of the Covid-19 epidemic, according to hospital and health experts and doctors. Everyone knows that the rate of vaccination against the epidemic in Lebanon touches only 30%, which means that companies and workers of all kinds will re-adopt preventive measures again, and at that time, they will have to work together remotely, using several applications such as the Zoom application and others. Accordingly, they will not be able to do so if the Internet is cut off.”

Regarding the increase in internet service prices, the CEO of Cyberia said, “We are not afraid of this, first, because we are companies that have continued to work in the most difficult circumstances, and this crisis is like many previous crises, and we are all confident as a private sector that we will overcome it. Second, we are known as information transmission companies and private internet services in Lebanon with a very high level of services, and our call center does not stop working on all days, occasions and holidays, and receives customer complaints, along with technical teams ready to intervene in all Lebanese territories to solve any technical problem that may occur . Third, we have worked hard to strengthen the loyalty relationship with our customers, and we know very well that the old customers will not abandon us, knowing that this price hike is only a price correction, and does not have severe negative effects on customers.

  • Sawt Beirut International