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.

MOC Stopped It

HaloLegendsBD

I have a package from MyUS shipped through DHL which came in with 4 Hard Drives, a motherboard, some ram, and 4 Blu Rays. All the Blu Rays are animated movies, Green Lantern, Dante’s Inferno, Halo Legends, and Justice League Crisis On Two Earths. I have come to the conclusion that you can only buy cartoons on Blu-Ray or DVD into Kuwait so they won’t stop it. Bt I was wrong, it has been two days since they said they would get clearance and I told them its only a cartoon why would you stop it. They really drive me nuts, and they wonder why there is so much torrent downloads in Kuwait, people are honestly willing to purchase but if you make it this much of a headache then they won’t buy online. Put a 5% tax that has to be paid and that is it, no inspection nothing, Customs is supposed to make money for the country rather then waste time inspecting toys and other items. It will probably be clear in a day or two but this is seriously very annoying, and I just bought these because I like these animated movies so much that I decided to buy them. They don’t care about the other items, I have had more electronics shipped in in one box before without it being stopped at all but for movies they stop it.

17/10 – The Cut Off Date

This additional numbers are causing slight havoc and some systems haven’t yet adapted to it. I don’t get my Aramex texts anymore, it seems they are working on it. 17/10/08 is the cut off date, I’m not sure what exactly is  going to happen or what isn’t going to happen.

  • 1+800 numbers
  • 2+Landlines
  • 9+MTC
  • 6+Wataniya

The most annoying part is that I am getting 5-7 wrong calls a day, and at the worst of times. For the past few weeks I’m not really answering numbers that I don’t know because I’m tired of saying you have the wrong number, especially those numbers where you have no clue where they are calling from.