The Syrian Telecommunication Establishment (STE) will expand the country’s Internet network next year, from its present 15,000 subscriber capacity to 200,000 subscribers, STE Director General Muhammad Maaruf told Al-Quds Al-Arabi.
Maarouf added that both business and individual users would be given access to the Internet. Government officials said access to international Web Sites would be unrestricted, but the government reserved the right to block access to Web Sites deemed unethical or immoral. Electronic mail would be available to all.
In Mid-August Syria’s cabinet met to discuss the principles of providing domestic internet services and general guidelines for the project. The Syrian news agency SANA reported that the cabinet reviewed the options presented to choose the suitable means for providing this service and the necessary equipment, investments and technical expertise that would ensure flexible work and efficient performance.
Despite frequent pro-Internet statements and an online connection available since 1997, Syria remains the only country in the region that has yet to allow its public local access to the WWW. A few thousand modems are said to be in Syrian hands, allowing those who have access to them to maintain Internet accounts with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Lebanon and elsewhere, according to the Human Rights Watch 2001 report.
Syrian statistics show the number of users of a single connection point is about 15 people as the Internet is installed mainly in public offices, universities and big private businesses. The world average is about three people for each connection point. — (Mena Report)
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )