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French Version

ADSL is just too expensive

There's a reason why you, and I, still don't have ADSL at home: The price.

There's a reason why you, and I, still don't have ADSL at home: The price. If you survey the major ISPs in the country, you'll find that the average annual price of ADSL service is JD 550 to 600 before tax.
Then you add to that JD129 to be paid to Jordan Telecom, to get 'connected' and you've got a total cost of over JD800.

That means you'll be paying around JD67 a month! It's too much, especially when compared to some of the excellent dial-up deals you can get today for an annual, unlimited account. Recently, they cost as little as JD99 to JD120 depending on the ISP, and don't require any additional payment to Jordan Telecom.

In spite of being slower, a dial-up account will serve your needs quite well, costing JD8 to JD10 a month, it's almost 85 percent cheaper than ADSL. However, for every new technology there are early adopters. Apparently, in Jordan there are 1,772 of them. A study by research group Arab Advisors, came up with this figure-calculated until September 2002-and also said that ADSL users represent less than 2.5 percent of Internet users in Jordan.

The report then goes on to discuss how industry analysts thought there would be more ADSL users by now. Obviously, the price-sensitivity issue has proven again to be the main driver of Jordanian consumer choice in information technology. It's quite surprising that telecom authorities and companies thought it wouldn't be. In any case, it's an excellent service to have if you can afford it and its another milestone in Jordan evolving telecommunications infrastructure.

Now, or in a year's time at the most, it needs to move from 'milestone' to 'mainstream' and that can only be achieved by a reduction in the cost of bandwidth that ISPs have to incur to offer the service. Simply, bandwidth is still too expensive in Jordan. Why? Well, it's somewhat difficult to go into this thorny and technical matter without extensive research, but it's related to several factors. One of the important factors is the structure of Jordan's telecommunications industry.

Currently, one company in the country is offering commercial bandwidth. ISPs buy it from that company, then re-sell it to us for JD600. Soon, though, that may change which would be good for all players in the telecom industry, including the current bandwidth provider, as more competition is good for everyone. If ADSL, someday in the near future, sells for JD300 a year, that's when you'll see it taking off in Jordan.

The amount of JD25 a month is still more than double what you'd pay for dial-up, but for a few years in the late 90s that's approximately what we were paying for a limited number of Internet hours on dial-up. So, getting a service that is, supposedly, up to 10 time the speed for that much is very attractive. We'd all love to have ADSL at home, and it could happen in the coming years but we have to wait for the technology cost cycle to 'roll' a bit. Until then, you can stick to your 'S-D-L' account: Slow-Download-Low price!

Zeid Nasser
The Star

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