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18 November 2005

OTE: Stop Sabotaging the Internet in Greece!

Make Internet access possible, finally
F8HNO INTERNET TWRA

The last few days the news of rising prices for dial-up Internet access in Greece were making the rounds. Yesterday evening this reached the TV news too. According to TV, the prime minister got angry and demanded this be changed. What do the new price mean? No matter what provider you use for dialup, prices will go up somewhere between 70% and 300%. This runs contrary to what all politicians see as the target for Greece's road to a modern society and broad Internet access. Let's look at this in some more details...


All dial-up access in Greece goes through OTE (the national telco provider), because they provide the "last mile" to the customer. ISPs use a special service called "ΕΠΑΚ" (EPAK) to do this. On your phone bill this is shown as "calls to the Internet". This has not been cheap to you to begin with. Likely it made you pay twice for Internet access, once a monthly fee for your ISP, once on your phone bill. On the other hand, ΕΠΑΚ was cheaper than a local phone call.

I've said it before and I will say it again: Greece is way behind in matters of computers and Internet access. I've referred to this country still being in Internet stone age. Cost of ADSL is the highest in Europe by a wide margin (and even twice as high as in Turkey or Egypt). For many people dial up is all there is, either because of financial reasons (Euro 50-100 a month is a lot of money when you earn Euro 700). Or because they are somewhere in the country side where ADSL isn't even an option. And there is no other broadband to be found. The country is a quasi-monopoly of OTE. (There is a tiny fraction of the market that has access through Vivodi, but that is available only in some big cities.)

Protesting against the raised prices was first Ένωσης Ελλήνων Χρηστών Ίντερνετ (the Greek Internet Users Association, they provided me with the protest graphic above, which says "Cheap Internet Now!"). According to TV news, after wide intervention by prime minister and politicians, OTE has retreated from the change. But in the end they said they will just move in the new prices slower and maybe make a special price for people living in areas without ADSL.

I'm all in favour of pushing broadband (though I'm no big fan of ADSL, give me a better choice!). But upping prices for those who can't afford the incredible overpriced ADSL is an insult. This is sabotage to the development of the country, especially for connecting Greece to the Internet.

Posted by betabug at 13:51 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
ch athens
Life in Athens (Greece) for a foreigner from the other side of the mountains. And with an interest in digital life and the feeling of change in a big city. Multilingual English - German - Greek.
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