Over a week ago, when I last posted on this, leading Lebanese ISP Cyberia promised faster internet “in a matter of days.” Now they’re changing their story and speeds are still among the world’s slowest, and getting even slower.
Instead of the promised 4mbps, for which I was charged $84 per month, I recently registered an astounding 0.08 mpbs:
That’s barely a quarter of 1990s dial-up speeds!
After repeated attempts, I finally got through to Cyberia’s ‘support’ line (which has been busier than a radio station lately) and was kindly informed that the upgrade would be complete by “the end of the month.” This would mean I– along with thousands of others– paid the full price for a package that never existed. I honestly do not know what business in the world could get away with that.
Imagine paying your cable company a premium fee for movie channels and the provider saying “sorry, we couldn’t provide your movies this month, but we’re keeping the money anyway!”
“This is not America,” a Cyberia customer representative quipped, in response to the analogy.
America?? Even Nepal and Sri Lanka have twice the speed of Lebanon! Hell, all of Sub-Sahran Africa is faster. But the voice on the other end was not moved. His script probably read: blame the government.
“The government told us we could offer the speed on Oct. 1,” he said. “We were technically ready, but Ogero has not switched the lines,” he added in a reference to the state appointed telecom operator. “When will they do it? I have no idea.”
The rep then admitted that barely 10 percent of stations operated by Ogero had switched customers, leaving some 90 percent of 70,000 subscribers overpaying for falsely promised services this month.
“The bandwidth is not enough for Lebanon. We are also not getting the service we paid for,” he added, pleading for empathy. But those additional fees are simply being passed on to customers.
“You are not paying,” I said. “We are.”
So the question remains: Who pocketed our money for new packages that never existed?
And is the media looking for answers yet? No! They’re still busy reproducing fake news!
Instead of holding the government and ISPs accountable, the press is parroting more outlandish statements, with the minister now claiming “Lebanon will be put on the map as being one of the fastest connections in the region.”
The report adds: “High speed internet, which has been activated in Beirut… should be available in the rest of the country in two weeks.”
How could that possibly be true if my ISP is telling me barely 10 percent of subscribers have been upgraded and not enough bandwidth has been made available for the country?
It’s time for the Ministry, Ogero and ISPs to be upfront with customers. Why was a service sold when it could not be provided, and where has our money gone?