Archive for August, 2010

Internet usage in the Arab world – June 2010

A recent report by Nielsen Online revealed the Internet penetration numbers in the Arab region. The numbers are an eye opener on who the heavyweights in the region are, and where Arab startups (or international companies targetting the region) should be investing.

(The report defined an Internet user one that accessed the Internet once at least in the last 30 days.)

Rank Country Internet users % of population
1 Egypt 17,060,000 21.2%
2 Morocco 10,442,500 33%
3 Saudi Arabia 9,800,000 38%
4 Algeria 4,700,000 13.6%
5 Sudan 4,200,000 10%
6 Syria 3,935,500 17.7%
7 United Arab Emirates 3,777,900 75%
8 Tunisia 3,600,000 34%
9 Jordan 1,741,900 24.2%
10 Oman 1,236,700 41%
11 Kuwait 1,100,000 39.4%
12 Lebanon 1,000,000 24.2%
13 Bahrain 649,300 88%
14 Qatar 436,000 51.8%
15 Yemen 420,000 1.8%
16 Libya 353,900 5.5%
17 Iraq 325,000 1.1%

What the report doesn’t address is the online payment capabilities in each of those countries. Internet access with the no commerce capabilities can only encourage consumption websites (news, brochures, blogs, …) with limited monetization potential, rather than full-fledged online services, and the numbers above only tell one part of the story.

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New submarine broadband cable for Lebanon in 2010?

The “I-ME-WE” cable is a new 12,000-kilometer submarine cable system that comprises three optical fibre cable pairs, connecting France to India via the Middle East.
Its design capacity is 3.84 Terabits per second and its planned land touchpoint in Lebanon will be in Tripoli (although the map shows Saida)
Compare that capacity with the capacity of the other two submarine cables already operating in Lebanon:
  • BERYTAR (134 km) connecting Tartous in Syria to Beirut (5 Gbps) operating since 1997.
  • CADMOS (230 km) connecting Pentaskhinos in Cyprus to Beirut (622 Mbps) operating since 1995.
I-ME-WE

The "I-ME-WE" cable is a new 12,000-kilometre submarine cable system that comprises three optical fibre cable pairs, connecting France to India via the Middle East.

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A Bike Superhighway in Lebanon?

While the Lebanese are busy following their respective political colors, people in London opened 2 new “cycle superhighways” in the city. The Barclays Cycle Superhighways is planned to be completed in 2015, while some routes are expected to be finished by summer 2011 and October 2012.

Here is the map of the bike superhighways, compared to the map of Lebanon using the same scale:

The Barclays Cycle Superhighways map, superimposed on the map of Lebanon

Highlighted on the map: Byblos on the North, Baalbek on the East, Jiyeh on the South, and Beirut on the West
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Lebanese people waiting in line

Waiting in line to board the plane to Lebanon, at the airport in Frankfurt.

Aaah it feels so good to be back home :)

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