Lebanon Won’t Have Internet Tomorrow?

Picture via Maya Zankoul

Picture via Maya Zankoul

Isn’t this the best news to wake up to?

According to Al Akhbar, Lebanon has failed to pay its dues to the IMEWE internet cable consortium and will be cut off from the country’s main internet supply tomorrow, effectively slashing 60% of our internet capacity. We owe the consortium around $1.9 million. If that amount is not paid by November 3rd, tomorrow, Lebanon will also lose its share of the IMEWE cable which is worth around $60 million.

Given our internet state, slashing 60% off of it means we are rendered with a connection that is barely usable and certainly not enough to sustain the country. Lebanon also has a redundant system which covers 30% of current capacity. Back in July 2012, Lebanon had an outage in the IMEWE cable which was due to technical reasons. We fell back on that failover system and the only functional internet we were able to access was that on our mobile phones.

Who’s to blame for this? Everyone I guess. The Ministry of Telecom is the one in charge of the dealings with the consortium as Ogero has been off the project since 2012. Ogero has notified the ministry back in May about the situation but the governmental situation, or lack thereof, prevented anyone from approaching the issue.

Isn’t it enough that we barely have usable internet in the first place that we now might have to deal with that internet becoming non-existent if not unavailable? Weren’t the many outages of IMEWE a wake-up call to have a decent enough backup system just in case? And why has this news taken so much time in actually becoming known, just one day before the deadline?


The joke currently goes: hit the beach tomorrow and try to get Wi-Fi from Cyprus. Or perhaps we should simply let Qatar handle this, as usual, and then rebrand our IMEWE share to “Shoukran Qatar?”

Bass enno men l aseis ye3ne, la shou l internet? 

Update: According to MTV, the ministry has started the paperwork to pay the IMEWE consortium and keep our connection intact.

So a few questions:
1) Why wait till the absolute last minute and only because the news got this much traction?
2) Is $2 million such a huge amount that we had to reach this pathetic point?

7 thoughts on “Lebanon Won’t Have Internet Tomorrow?

  1. Yalla people, keep praising a minister because he replied to one of your tweets or seemed “cool”. Wlek why do people get fooled so easily? Enno he tweets ya3né khalass he knows what he’s doing? The ministry of telecom is just as shitty as all the other ministries if not shittier. Thank you Elie for bringing this up :]


  2. Anyway, the people in lebanon are so brain dead that they wouldn’t react even if their parents were raped in front of them, so we’ll just have to watch them suck some shiny arab balls once again eventhough before starting to blame and kill each other again. It’s the same since i’ve been born and oh god! i guess i was wrong to be ashamed to be half french when i was a kid.


  3. The internet wont be gone tomorrow:

    وطنية – صدر عن المكتب الإعلامي لوزير الاتصالات نقولا صحناوي الآتي:
    أنجزت وزارتا الاتصالات والمالية، الحادية عشرة قبل ظهر اليوم، تحويل مبلغ 2،3 مليون دولار وهي مستحقات متوجبة على لبنان لمصلحة الكابل الدولي البحري IMEWE.
    تجدد الوزارة عهدها للبنانيين انها ستبقى العين الساهرة على حسن سير القطاع الذي بات رافعة رئيسية للاقتصاد، والأمينة على مصالح كل العاملين في هذا القطاع.
    ما يهم راهنا ان التعاون الإيجابي بين وزارتي الاتصالات والمالية أنتج حلا لمسألة المستحقات المتوجبة على لبنان لمصلحة الكابل الدولي. اما من أسهم وخطط واختلق هذه الازمة محليا ودوليا ومن ارتكب الأخطاء البليغة في حق لبنان والتي وردت في العقد مع الكونسورسيوم الدولي ومحاسبة المسؤولين عنها فله حديث آخر. نحيط اللبنانيين علما انه سبق لوزارة الاتصالات ان امنت سعات دولية رديفة للبنان عبر الكابل الكسندروس. وتاليا لم يكن لبنان معرضا لانقطاع الانترنت بفضل هذا الإجراء الرديف”.

    but such news sources is not always reliable.. each one is throwing the charges on the second party.. some say its Abdel men3em’s responsibilities, and some say its the minister’s.. This thing HAVE NOTHING TO POLITICS.. kel ma da2 el kouz bel jarra.. besir fi political trashtalk bayn el parties. Wake up people!


  4. what is clear that a feud between Abd el Men3em and the Minister, based on their party differences, is resulting in a continuous information withholding and issues of the likes of which you are reading about now. and the worse part is that the court cannot move to arbitrate to put a clear responsibility on whom is sabotaging the whole process. bottom line: the system has failed



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