Internet Access In Syria, F.A.Q.

1 07 2008

This post was originally intended as a response to comments on a previous post Broadband, Syria: The Dream. But I found it to contain lots of useful information (especially to foreigners) that I found it better to publish it as a new post instead.

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Q. How much do you pay a month to get ADSL connection at home?
A. It depends on the line speed, starting at 2400 Syrian Pounds per month (conversion rate $1 ~= 48 S.P.) for 256 Kbps. 3700 S.P. for 512 Kbps. Check the following table for more details: ADSL connection – CEC ISP

Q. I’m intending to live in Damascus, are there places there where I wont be able to get a connection?
A. Yes, there are. DSL capable phone centers do not cover all areas in Damascus. I couldn’t find an official list of covered areas in English, so I translated it to you:
Covered areas in Damascus: Mouhajereen, Mezzah, Kafr Souseh, Barzeh, Baghdad street, Alnasr, Aljalaa’, Bab Sharki, Rouken Eldin, Althawrah, Alyarmook, Doummar.

Q. do you have limitations and proxies form your house or are those limitations removed?
A. Some private ISPs don’t use a proxy server, some do. However it doesn’t matter because ALL internet connections from Syria to the outside world go through an invisible government proxy server, and all ISPs here are forced to connect through that server. So, YES there are limitations.
The limitations are mostly used for political reasons (i.e. Israeli websites, and pro-Israeli agencies and corporations). There are also some limitations that WE Syrians cannot understand, the following non-political (in nature) websites are blocked too: Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, EBAY, and the whole .blogspot domain, and many others…
Anyway, you could easily bypass this block, like most Syrians do, you could install a VPN program, or use an online service to get where you want.

Links you may find useful (in English):
The Official Public Syrian ISP
Aloola ISP

I hope I was able to answer your questions. If you have any more questions do not hesitate to ask, you could also email one of the ISPs I listed here for more information.

There is one problem though. New ADSL connections are put on hold for the time being, because (as officially said by the government officials) we ran out of PDN access points, and the U.S. (and other countries) are banning the export of necessary equipments that we need to widen our infrastructure. So, you may face some difficulties trying to get a new ADSL line. Currently, Syrians are trading available lines between themselves for a much higher price because of that.
There are other forms of connections, like Satellite access. And currently, cell phone companies are test-driving their new 3G networks, so you may as well try to get a 3G connection (speeds up to 3.7 Mbps) to access the internet. Check this page for further details: Syriatel 3G Internet Access.

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For other questions about Syria and lots of tourism information, check out the Syrian Ministry of Tourism’s official website: Ministry of Tourism – Syria.