May 14, 2006

battling the poor co.

When it comes to acting with complete disregard for the poor, this country is truly world-class. Government and big business alike have so fantastic apathy to the misery of the working poor, they live in a green zone –a la Baghdadi- of their own.

Batelco is a prime example of that. This is the company that used to tout a “laptop+internet” bundle as costing nothing more than mere low “BD50 only” per month. Talk about a devalued Dinar. The company that charged BD 40 for 256 k line, month in and month out, in a country where 60% of its private sector employees – citizen- earn less than BD200 per month. And if you prefer the blender average of the public and private sectors, it is BD 325 for all, which is still lower than the poverty line of BD339 per family of 4. How would my neighbour, with BD180 per month salary and three other mouths to feed afford the BD 40 for an ADSL line? Or Would Batelco be content to just leave his kids of 8 and 6 with no access to the world web for life?

Well, the ingenuity of this land manifested itself in a unique collective answer. People formed their own sharenets. Each household would pay from BD5 to BD10 depending on the no of shared lines. And Batelco and others have the gall to call them “thiefnets”? They are no more thieves than the tens of millions of Americans and Europeans and Koreans who pay similar rates for a single line. And what would you do, if the only baker in town refuses to lower the price of your loaf of bread and prohibits you from sharing it with others as well?

And who is the thief here, Batelco Bahrain that will from now on charges me BD 480 per year for a line of advertised speed of 1 Mbps and an “enormous” threshold of 15GB, or Batelco Jordan which charges my former teacher in Amman for a line of same speed and 12GB threshold JD399 per year ( or the equivalent of BD 212 or BD 17.7 per month), or if he is only content with the 5GB threshold only JD299 per year or BD 13.3 per month?! Flexibilty ? you bet.

Economics clearly is not the reason here. Is it politics then? The wish and want to shut the Bahraini youth from using the whole world wide web as their anti-government graffiti world wide wall?


At 11:08 PM, Anonymous Mahmood Al-Yousif said...

Oh man, don't get me started. I was disappointed tonight at the "war of the Roses" where Batelco just wanted US to take up their fight with the TRA!

Their new CE however is a slippery fish, and an astute polititian who should also be employed to teach our fledgeling MPs how to get out of answering a question, and seem completely sincere while evading the answer!

It's a bit too late for me now (I should've been in bed over an hour ago, but still psyched by the meeting tonight) but hopefully tomorrow I would have collected my thoughts into an article.

Not that it's that important, they plainly demonstrated that they have come to the party with their minds already set.

Take it or leave it.

At 11:16 PM, Blogger MR said...

The lack of public policy could not be more flagrant here. The internet is too important to be left to the likes of Messieurs Kaliarpoulos, Al-Ghatam and Avgousti to decide, and control the pace and direction of local minds.

They talk about the BD 10 option as "socially responsible". You'd think they are referring to a freenet. Speaking of which, I think that's a more deserving cause than Batelco donating to the ineffectual Bahrain Centre for Studies and Research or the grandise Library project.

At 12:55 PM, Blogger tooners said...

very interesting.

At 12:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

why dont you try with MTC-vodafone in bahrain with a speed of 3.6Mbps having 4GB threshold limit--- completely WiFi. Your monthly expense will be BD 15/- only.. cheers !!!


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