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Kuwait: Bloggers Fight Internet Companies

In the past two months, Kuwaiti bloggers have campaigned against Internet companies in Kuwait which are enforcing a policy of limited bandwidth, steeply raising prices in the past year by agreeing between each other on the same prices, and killing the competition in the Internet market.

Blogger Hornet wrote a statement which was republished by others, signed by 154 bloggers, forums’ admins and even Al-Watan newspaper. This eventually triggered Kuwaiti Parliament members into questioning what Internet companies are doing without being monitored and controlled by the Ministry of Communication.

The Ministry has recently decided to force companies into lowering the prices by 15% and take off the Internet cap policy beginning next month, but this has not yet fulfilled demands.

The campaign's logo, as posted by blogger Hornet.

The campaign's logo, as posted by blogger Hornet.

In the statement he published, blogger Hornet [ar] wrote saying:

قررنا انا و الاخوه والأخوات المدونين الكويتيين القيام بحملة ضد الانترنت المحدود , وبما انه زمن الثورات قررنا القيام بثورة انترنتية ضد الانترنت المحدود تحت حجة “الاستخدام العادل ” فنحن المدونين نرفض رفضا تاما القيام بمثل هذه الممارسات اللتي تسلب من المشترك او المستخدم حرية استخدام للانترنت بالشكل المتعارف عليه في كل دول العالم , نحن ندفع في الكويت اسعار خيالية من اجل توفير خدمة انترنت ذات استخدام عادل بكل ماتحمله الكلمة من معنى

I and other fellow Kuwaiti bloggers have decided to campaign against the Internet cap policy and since it is the era of revolutions, we decided to start an Internet revolution against the Internet cap policy which has been justified under what is called “fair usage”. We the bloggers totally refuse such policies that deprive a user from the freedom of using the Internet in the common method used around the world. We are paying crazy prices to get an internet connection that be fairly used.

Hornet adds in another post [ar] the demands of this campaign saying:

حملتنا ضد هذي الشركات المزودة للإنترنت مستمرة ولن تتوقف إلا بتنفيذ هذي المطالبات:
١- الإستعجال بإقامة هيئة لتنظيم الإتصالات وسن قوانينها.
٢- فتح باب التراخيص للشركات الأجنبية بعد أن أثبتت شركاتنا الوطنية فشلها في خدمة عملائها.
٣- استكمال مشروع كيبلات الفايبر التي بدأت فيها الحكومة ثم توقفت عنها لأسباب لا نعلمها

The campaign against Internet providers will continue until our following demands are met:
1- Forming an association to monitor Internet companies and create fair laws and rules.
2- Permitting foreign companies to get into the market since the national companies proofed failure in customer service.
3- Completing the project of Fiber cables which the government has started then stopped before finishing it for unknown reasons.

Another blogger nicknamed Abu Flan republished the statement and made a final comment [ar] saying:

من المحزن أن نكون في دولة تعتبر من أغنى دول العالم ولا تستطيع الحكومة تقديم خدمة الإنترنت لشعب قليل بالنسبة للدول الأخرى كالسعودية ومصر بصورة ممتازه وجودة عاليه، الناس تتطور وتبحث توفير خدمة الإنترنت حتى في الطرق والشوارع ونحن نرجع للخلف !!

It is sad that we are considered one of the richest countries in the world and the government cannot provide us with internet, although we are a small nation compared to Saudi Arabia and Egypt that have excellent internet connections. Countries are developing and working on providing the internet in the roads and streets while we are retreating.

Lebanese blogger Mark, based in Kuwait, tried explaining the Internet problem in his post “The story behind the internet download caps” saying:

the problem from what I understood is that because the Ministry of Communication hasn’t upgraded their infrastructure the ISP’s can’t get more lines and bandwidth into Kuwait. At the same time the amount of internet users in Kuwait is increasing.

Two months ago a blog came out under the name “Kuwait Anti Bandwidth Cap Alliance” and in its page of Goals, are listed the following demands:

1- The illegal cap be removed.
2- A clause in contracts says “The contract an be amended at any time without prior notice.” This violates any customer’s rights and we demand its permanent removal.
3- The ISPs be fined for their illegal price fixing.
4- The ISPs be fined for hiking the prices 70%+.
5- The ISPs extend the subscription period of all its affected customers, with a period equal to that from the beginning of the cap (June 1st, 2011) till the day it’s removed, to compensate them for the lost value that they have paid for.

The campaign was not limited to blogs and in fact was more effective when it spread on twitter through the hash tag #q8cap. Twitter user @FalconFiery [ar] suggested boycotting internet companies:

المقاطعه هو سر النكهه ، طيبة المذاق ، لا يستطيع التاجر الا تجرعه في النهاية راضخا لمطالب عادله

@FalconFiery: Boycotting is the secret recipe that the merchant will eventually taste and give up to the fair demands

Nasser Alkhudhari (@Alkhudhari1) wrote the following tweet:

@Alkhudhari1: lowering the price %15 WTF !!. we want good service, faster, stable, & dedicated DSL internet. The future is all about bandwidth

Hamad AlJudai (@hamadmj) wrote a tweet critical of Internet performance in Kuwait saying:

@hamadmj: After the internet cap policy, I feel like I was sent back to year 2000. Now looking for a download manager with a resume option.

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