Saudi Arabia is to slash Internet subscription rates by 30 percent to boost the number of subscribers from an estimated 2.5 percent of the population, a newspaper reported Monday, September 10.
The business daily Al-Iqtissadiya said the reduction will be effective from next week after King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology, the main Internet provider in the kingdom, has finalized technical arrangements. Monthly subscriptions will be around $20 and annual rates will be even lower, the paper said.
Saudi Arabia, with a population of 19 million people, ranks last of the six Gulf states and 10th among Arab countries for percentage of Internet subscribers. There are around two dozen private Internet service providers in the kingdom, where experts are predicting the number of users to double before the end of 2001.
The Internet service introduced to the conservative kingdom less than two years ago is closely monitored and undesired sites are blocked by a proxy server. Authorities say more than 95 percent of around 400,000 blocked websites deal with pornography and the rest comprise political and social subjects that violate the country's laws. — (AFP, Riyadh)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )