The ISPs and Ministry of Communication

LiberationTower

There is a dirty battle going on between the Ministry of Communication and the Internet Service Providers in Kuwait. People have always been supportive of the ISPs and we never really said anything about their charges even though we knew they were ludicrous.

User MoC Issues

The Ministry Of Communication is the main source of the issue with a lot of issues that we face in Kuwait. The limited capability of our lines for DSL services is because they haven’t upgraded since the 1970s and fiber optic cables is no where in sight. So no matter what ISP you go with there is always have a limit some people have it at 2 MB and some at 10 MB it depends on the quality of your copper line and how far you are from the MoC Hub in your area. So what ever maximum speed you can reach isn’t really the fault of the providers and applaude them for working with what they have and bring technology that can give us better speed for the quality of lines that we have.

ISP MoC Issues

The only connectivity to Kuwait is via the Ministry of Communication, you don’t have any other option to connect to the outside worlds and this what the ISPs have to work with. And because the MoC hasn’t gone on the initiative to bring more major fiber cables to Kuwait we don’t have the increase to satisfy the requirements. Basically these guys have been too lazy to attend the meetings and they could have easily turned Kuwait into an internet hub, it wouldn’t have taken too much effort. Instead we were stuck with this capacity for over two years now with no progress really in sight to increase it because they didn’t plan ahead. With all this the MoC is charging the ISPs taxes and exuberant prices that they do not like and thus they are passing it along to us. The cost of the internet in many countries across the world which you can see from 360 Dewan’s post

Price Unification

Now this is the first step the ISPs took this year that shocked a lot of people, we always wait for InfoConnect to get the best pricing but this time around all the prices across the board were increased by 100%. The big four players sat down and agreed on prices across the table with minor differences between them, which is basically price fixing and it is illegal in many countries but it has passed in Kuwait.

Data Caps

Because of the issues faced by the ISPs with the MoC they decided to take another tactic to try get users worked up. The ISPs don’t want to fight or get into any argument with the MoC as they can make their lives a living hell, instead they make our lives a living hell so we can in turn do that to the MoC and complain enough so that action is taken on their end. The ISPs want the MoC to lower their prices and the only way they can do that is to get the Users riled up to storm into the MoC and then and only then they would make changes that the ISP want.

When they stated that the Data Caps were from the Ministry of Communication it was a complete lie to get people off their backs. Data Caps do help the ISPs they make more money and you get a lot more less usage which is basically robbery plain and simple. The ISPs also state they are doing this because of the “Abusers” which is ridiculous because very few people use their internet connection 24/7, I for one download a lot but I added it up to about 8 days out of the month where I do major downloading and the rest of the time its just updates, programs, gaming, surfing, and streaming which in reality you hit the Data Cap in mere hours not even the amount you really require or are paying for.

What they are also trying to do with these Data Caps is target Building and Business Owners who use a residential line to get internet service and pay for lower pricing but really abuse the hell out of the connection. They want to target these people and limit their usage and have them move to business plans and pay a higher price because of their heavy usage. Your talking about buildings with 20 users on one 4MB connection or a company with 25 users with a 2 MB connection, and to them the connection is being used too much too consistently. And this problem isn’t for us normal people to pay for, we pay our fees and expect a service, not to be restricted from it.

They talk about Data Caps in Europe and in other countries, that does happen but in those countries the users pay about 5 to 10% of the amounts we pay, I used to pay $1200 per year for 20 MB connection in 2004 which was excessive but that is 350 KD but in Kuwait you pay 350 KD for 3 to 4 MB connection depending on the company, and for a 20 MB connection you would have to pay around 1500 KWD per year. And we haven’t complained about the pricing as long as we are getting the service.

What is ILLEGAL at this Point?

Price Fixing – Sitting between the competition and deciding to increase prices across the board for the same product is illegal on every level.

Data Caps – Changing the terms and conditions of the service without notification, and everyone literally just renewed their service in the last 5 months.

What We Need?

We need a TRA or Telecommunication Regulatory Agency, a independent agency that will govern the ISPs and Telecom companies. Oman, Bahrain, Emirates and even Saudi Arabia has one and you don’t want to cross these agencies as they have the power to fine the companies and suspend their services based on their actions. Such the as the case with Batelco and the Bahrain TRA and STC and the Saudi TRA when they took actions that were deemed illegal they were fined heavily and it hurt. Ind our case Kuwait’s ISPs aren’t afraid because they would never get fined or no real damage would happen, and the letter from MoC doesn’t really scare them, they have had lots of those.

We need clear fines to be defined for their actions over the last few months and it should be made clear that they can’t make changes to the user’s contract except until the contract ends which in our case is 1 year from now and Data Caps should be made illegal because this isn’t the service we are paying for, we are paying for speed and no the limitation of usage. Now it seems the ISPs are selling Data Amounts and not really speeds and soon they will come up with an insane package and even worse pricing to get us to pay for the Data amounts we want.

A guy who is just trying to enjoy life!

62 Comments

  1. MCD

    Thanks for the great article, very informative and straight to the point.

    However, I have something to tell this FASTtelco guy:

    I just made a call to your support center and he did say that you did activate the cap but it is monthly one not daily. Which means I get 139gig for my 4mb connection or so he said.

    I also asked about the torrent situation and he also confirmed that “some ports are blocked” or something, in other words, throttling P2P/traffic shaping is on and the only way for me to get past it is to use VPN services.

    This whole situation is just one big fat lie from all sides.

  2. @MCD true we do not support torrents and never was, as for the cap i would like you to try consuming your 139gig in the next couple of days -if you can- and let us know what happens after that.

  3. MCD

    No support for torrents? So explain how did it work in the past? And why is it moving at 20kb/s maximum now?

    Traffic shaping is bad but denying it is even worse.

    And I can burn 139gigs pretty easily but I am not in the mood right now, Mr. FASTtelco.

  4. and it still works, but speeds varies according to traffic and how its routed by the systems depending on the load and kind of traffic.
    don’t forget to drop a comment when you 139gigs are over :)

  5. MCD

    Sure, just stop throttling my torrent speed and I will go over that in less than a week.

    Otherwise I will just keep using VPN where my torrents actually work.

  6. Excellent read Marzouq. Thanks.

  7. BoYzIIMeN

    Sorry to say Marzouq but you really don’t know whats happening. You need to do real time analysis. and not just what you hear from here and there.

    I would have explained in detail point by point what you said but then, why should I care about people who don’t know whats happening and always have negative views before knowing the story on the there side.

  8. Pingback: Mada Offering WiMax in Kuwait

  9. Well its like a chain reaction. If we got people who got knowledge in technology in MOC who are willing to improve Kuwait rather than being lazy and we know what happens from under the shadows. Then Kuwait can be a perfect trading zone. One of the biggest prof in monopoly in Kuwait was the Free trading zone and we know what happened there.

  10. I’ve done a top-level comparison on ISP’s in the GCC, very coarse & very broad, but one thing I can assure you is this: Kuwait has ‘the’ highest end-user cost for internet usage. The lowest, of course, is Dubai (and they’ve eliminated FAP caps!)

    Ironically, Kuwait has the highest number of ISP’s in the GCC. By comparison, Dubai has only two, and they offer you internet, data, voice, TV, you name it, they’ll hook it up for you..>AND NO CAPS!!

    So please Mr. ISP and Mr MOC, spare us your ‘you don’t know the full story’ crap!

    The MOC is controlling the ISP’s by laying back getting paid regardless, & not even bothering to look up the meaning of ‘forecasting’, while the ISP’s are deliberately allowing this abuse to go on because they don’t have the guts to face up to the MOC, so the’d much rather let the users do it instead!

    At this point, I’m seriously contemplating disconnecting my DSL service in denouncement.

  11. q8 State of Mindlessness

    This sort of corruption extends to THE GOVT AND EVERY SINGLE BIG BUSINESS IN THIS COUNTRY one way or the other. This is the way things get done in Kuwait.

    The ISP thing is just visible now bc it’s directly affecting users but price fixing and monopolistic practices which are LEGALLY SUPPORTED by the govt, are the norm here. Just look at the sad state of car dealerships…

    This is why no one wants to invest here and what makes the Kuwaiti market miserable for real, actual business, not this corrupt micky mouse mafia cartel shit that these rich, connected, corrupt, idiots call a market. It’s THEIR own little make-believe market, not an open market, not even by a long shot. And it will NEVER be open, short of a crazy revolution or something (hahahah hard to even imagine) so don’t hold your breath LMAO.

    So, if the MOC and the ISP’s won’t budge, then what’s next? what are you or anyone, going to do about it now? yeah…thought so.

  12. i live in aussie and 20 mpbs connection is considered a low across the globe yet i have never enjoyed internet every since i left kuwait to study

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