Syrians angered by internet, phone line price hikes
The Assad regime announced on Tuesday that it would be raising the price of its telephone and internet packages, sparking anger among Syrians.
The price rise will start in October, the regime-owned company Syrian Telecom said.
The cost of the slowest internet package available, which offers 512kB connections, will rise from 1,400 Syrian pounds (approximately $1.11) to 2,000 pounds per month, while the fastest speed available, 24MB, will rise from 22,000 to 35,000 Syrian pounds.
Fixed telephone service prices will more than double in price, as will the cost of a monthly home subscription.
In a further blow to the incomes of Syrians, mobile phone operator Syriatel announced that the cost of mobile calls on prepaid lines would rise.
In a statement on Facebook, Syriatel cited the Caesar Act and the US imposed sanctions, and attacks against infrastructure as the reason for the price rise.
“The repeated long outages of power and the difficulty of securing diesel under these long outages and its prices resulted in a significant increase in operating expenses, along with the need to restore the stations destroyed by terrorist operations,” Syriatel said.
The decision has caused much anger among Syrians, with many questioning the reasons for the price rise and saying that the service being provided is not worth the money being demanded.
“I like how all companies and ministries have the argument of Caesar's law ready for immediate use when looting the citizen and robbing his livelihood,” one Facebook user commented.
Many Syrian continue to suffer from slow internet speed, poor coverage, and frequent power outages.
Aside from the anger caused be the price rise, Syriatel recently came under fire when it was discovered that Syrians were being charged for calling toll-free numbers, including the emergency services.
The company alleged that this was due to a technical fault.
“The technical problem with the smart grid system has been resolved and customers affected by this technical error have been compensated for calling some emergency numbers,” Syriatel claimed.