Lebanon’s Internet connection  speeds could leap to 20 megabits per second within the next three months , the chairman of a major ISP told The Daily Star, as the country climbed 10 places on a global Internet speed ranking.
Maroun Chammas, chairman of IDM, said the upgrade would result from several developments, including additional international capacity purchased recently by Lebanon, and the gradually expanding fiber optics infrastructure.
“Within months we will be able to reach 20 Mbps and, in the near future, the speeds will go up even higher in the future ... albeit if all the initiatives take place in a timely way,” he said.
Average Internet speed in Lebanon stands currently at 2.52 Mbps according to the international Household Download Index by U.S. broadband tester Ookla, which ranks the country 151st internationally.
The ranking, based on thousands of recent test results from Speedtest.net between March 3 and April 1, also shows the country improved 10 ranks since March last year, when download speeds lingered at just 1.127 Mbps.
Chammas said the completion of a fiber-to-the-x (FTTX) project, including fiber to the home and fiber to the office components, would be essential for connection speeds to improve. However even old networks, he said, are capable of seeing much higher speeds, depending on their status.
Asked if the resignation of Prime Minister Najib Mikati’s Cabinet and the inability to form a new government would stall the pending upgrades, Chammas said most upcoming upgrades would not be affected.
Earlier this month, the Telecoms Ministry and the Cyprus Telecommunications Authority announced sharing capacity on the ALEXANDROS submarine cable subsystem between Cyprus, Egypt and France.
The two sides also signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of the EUROPA system, a high-capacity submarine cable to link Cyprus and Lebanon, which is expected to be ready by 2015.
The EUROPA system will enhance and gradually replace the existing CADMOS cable system, also connecting Lebanon and Cyprus, thus providing an alternative route to IMEWE, which has suffered failures before.
In addition, the EUROPA will form a bridge between the IMEWE and ALEXANDROS cables landing in Cyprus, providing better connectivity between Europe and the Middle East.