The Power of Social Media: The Egyptian Minister Revokes “Limited Internet Policy”

13 Aug, 2009





anti-ISP-egypt-bannerweb
Recently Internet Services Providers (ISPs) in Egypt announced a new subscription policy called “The Policy of Equitable Downloads” that limits downloading bandwidth and the capacity of download speeds for Internet subscribers. That led to an online revolt by many Internet users across Egypt, using social media platforms, blogs and forums to advocate against the new policy: On Facebook dozens of groups like this one asked their members to call the government and the media in protest. On Twitter Egyptians started an Anti Policy Tweet campaign, and the same thing happened across various Arabic Forums (Arabic Link).

anit-ISP-egypt-facebook-groanti-ISP-Egypt

On regional video sharing sites such as masrawy.com Hitler’s video protesting against the Freindfeed acquisition by Facebook has been re-scripted to protest the Limited Internet Policy (video at the end of the post with some transcripts.)

H itler anti ISP limite in Egypt
Moreover, using social media platforms activists organized streets demonstrations that took place in different parts of Egypt, where the protesters chanted slogans such as: (in Arabic) “download is against health and may cause death” and ” Limited Internet is unlimited retardation.”
Moreover, using social media platforms activists organized streets demonstrations that took place in different parts of Egypt, where the protesters chanted slogans such as: (in Arabic)
“download is against health and may cause death “and “Limited Internet is unlimited retardation.”

anti ISP egypt street protest
The protesters of the policy threatened all out revolt and a complete boycott of all ISPs if this “unfair” policy is not revoked. In light of this, Dr. Tariq Kamel the minister of Information Technology and Telecommunications in Egypt, revoked the policy according to Egyptian government-owned news website egynews.net ( Arabic Link) where he said that the new policy will not affect current Internet subscribers in Egypt, and it was based on suggestions from Egyptians ISPs where the National Telecom Regulatory Commission has agreed on it as a 2 month testing prohibition for new subscribers and that the test will be reinstated after 2 months!

The “fair use” policy was to enable users to download only a certain amount per month, and then the company automatically reduces the speed agreed upon and paid by subscribers.

for example, if the subscribers’ speed is at 512 kb/s, they can download a maximum of 25 GB per month. If the subscriber reaches the maximum speed available per month, the ISP further reduces the speed of 512 kb/s to 128 kb/s and would charge the user LE 10 ($1.75) pounds for every extra GB downloaded.

Facebook has been used in the past on several occasions by Egyptians to organize political and social campaigns that led to several street protests and social movements.

If this shows anything, it’s that social media has brought people together and unlike the one-way effect of traditional media outlets ( TV, radio and print), social media is interactional (two-way) and has the potential to go viral. Again the power of viral Facebook groups and fan pages invites, along with the power of Retweets and blog posting is changing the course of history where information that can be hidden or suppressed is forced into the public arena. Unless Facebook or Twitter bans these groups or tweets, of course, in which case people will probably go to other social media platforms.

In Jordan where I am from, the so called “policy of inequitable downloads” has been in place for many years now. My Internet speed goes down every month because of it. I hope Jordan Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC) and the ISPs in Jordan especially Orange (France Telecom) would revoke this unfair and harmful policy that is hurting not just consumers, but Internet startups and companies and every business in general, thus hurting the economy of the country.

And now here is Hitler Video protesting the Limited Internet and some translation to the transcript:

Hitler: (shouting) what do I pay my ISP for?
German General: they demonstrations are taking place on every street.
Hitler:off course and they have to hold an International protests for these unjust acts.
Hitler: how come, all my work is over the internet, I do not watch movies or shows, I watch them only online..I access youtube and facebook everyday how can i access them now, how will I listen to online Radios. ..every day I chat with my friends over IM what now I will lose my friends…. I ask refuge To Allah, I will speculate against them day and night until God brings my right back



#Photos via Shabab Today.

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  1. ArabCrunch  |  August 14th, 2009 at 12:36 PM #

    It seems we are having problems with the comment system, if your comment did not show up on Twitter: @arabcrunch or email me editor(at)arabcrunch.com(dot)com

  2. teenchefgirl  |  August 14th, 2009 at 1:33 PM #

    Excellent blog, nice post. I saw your blog after suggesting by businessvartha. I love this and so proud to vote for this beautiful blog. I VOTED FOR YOU, I recommend your blog to other friends also. They too Voting for this blog. I hope you will grace me with your precious Vote. Just copy this link to your browser
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  3. Twii  |  August 14th, 2009 at 6:19 PM #

    Забавно. :)

  4. CityTrader  |  August 14th, 2009 at 6:35 PM #

    Let’s hope that they make similar headway in other more important issues.

  5. Mohammad Badi Irshid  |  August 14th, 2009 at 11:39 PM #

    Actually I loved the way of this, and I wish this to happen in Jordan too…!
    In Jordan we've bad service and shity download limit and I don't know why they won't change this or at least to increase the limits :(

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