You Get What You Don’t Pay For


When you subscribe to an internet connection from a service provider, what is it that you’re usually expecting to get in return, besides the obvious and the stated elements (modem, router, filters, etc.)?

Does this look familiar?

Let me be a little bit more precise, let’s say you’re subscribing to an ADSL-type internet service, which is claimed to be what they call an “always-on” internet connection at a certain rate; for the sake of enumeration, let’s say 2Mbps download and 512kbps upload; I know I’m being a little bit conservative relative to most people reading this, unless you live in Lebanon, whereas I’m actually buffing the numbers quite a bit.

Just to summarize it, I believe that the least things that we usually expect to get from an internet connection subscription, is the following:

  1. An always-on internet service
  2. At a fixed download and upload rate
  3. With a set quota per month (yes, we still have that round here)

The interesting question however is, what are we actually getting for what we pay for?

Do we get the always-on internet service connection?

  • We used to but not anymore.

Do we get connection speeds at a fixed download and upload rate?

  • We didn’t used to, but in all fairness, ever since the 10Gbps contract was signed on the IMEWE cable with Paris, I have been seeing some improvements on certain ADSL connections.

Are we still limited to a set quota per month?

  • Of course; this is where they get to make all their money.
Just for sarcasm’s sake, imagine someone gives you a Ferrari and tells you that you can drive it as fast as you want, but you only get to drive it for 10 meters.
Ok, so back to our story; what has happened recently is that a 10Gbps contract was signed between Lebanon and France, so we can start making use of the IMEWE cable installation that we’ve had since (X number of years – I believe it’s been there since 2009). Ever since then, many people have reported an increase in their connection speeds, getting significantly closer to their subscribed speeds; but lo and behold, a new anomaly began to take precedence… the internet service began to take tips from its older brother the electricity service.
Are you wondering what I mean by this?
Well, simply put, in the past couple of months the internet service being provided by/to the ISPs “CUT”; yes, that’s right, it cut, just like the electricity cuts every few hours in this country… well now it looks like we’re hitting a new trend in Lebanon, where the internet decides to cut every once in a while for a few hours as well.
An alternative I suppose?!
I dunno whether to call it a trait or a sickness, but whatever it is, it seems that the internet is contracting it from the electricity service.
Now here’s the interesting part
When the electricity service cuts, we have adapted to running on the good old “motor”, or rather the proper lexical description of it, the power generators that we’ve invested so heavily in, forcing almost each and every citizen to revert to creating their own little power plant for electricity production when the government couldn’t deliver. Ok, so that’s a problem fixed…
Name your desired connection speed! πŸ˜›
My question now is what’s the telecommunication system equivalent of an electrical power generator to make up for these new connections cuts? Are we going to have to revert to creating our own internet connection as well for certain hours throughout the day?
Please excuse my sinicism, but I really am not expecting things to get better… the last time I did expect things to get better, the tankit benzine (20 liters of fuel) price shot up a strong 10,000 LBP.
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5 thoughts on “You Get What You Don’t Pay For

    1. Unlimited??? Do you know something the rest of us don’t know? πŸ˜›

      It seems that IDM is the one that’s experiencing most of the speed enhancements… it must be something to do with their arrangement with certain DSP’s having a connectivity advantage to all the new bandwidth, because I’ve experienced momentary ping latency values that were unbelievable, given the nation’s track records; I’m speaking in the sub-70ms range.

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    1. It’s actually already happened twice with IDM in the past couple of months, with at least 1-hour downtime, each time, I’m not sure if other ISP’s are experiencing it. Funny thing is that both times I’d call them and their only response was “we know there’s something wrong, but we don’t know what it is or when it’s going to be fixed”… that sounds promising, wouldn’t you say? πŸ˜›

      The upside though is that IDM have had quite the track record for the past few years, as far as performance of service goes.

      On a less serious note, IP-over-Avian-Carriers may actually be a very viable alternative… time to start training pigeons. πŸ˜‰

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