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Business & Economics
Threefold cut in internet price in a year: SanginBy Muhammad Hassan Khetab Apr 24, 2012 - 18:38
KABUL (PAN): Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) officials on Tuesday said there has been a three-fold decrease in the price of internet over the past one year, with the rate of one Megabyte (MB) reducing from $900 (44,883.0 afghanis) to $300.
The new prices will go into effect from next month by the state-run Afghan Telecom company, MCIT Minister Amirzai Sangin told a news conference in Kabul.
All internet providers could get the low priced internet for their customers, he added.
"We are trying to provide cheap internet services to people in order to enable them to have fast access to data and develop relations with the world," he said.
Last year, one MB of internet price was reduced from $4,000 to $1,500 which was further declined to $900 the same year, he recalled, saying further cut in internet prices was expected over next six months, when the Noori Fibre Optic project would complete.
The ambitious plan to lay fiber-optic cable country-wide was launched in 2007. Spanning 3,300 kilometres, the cable connects Kabul with Parwan, Balkh, Faryab, Herat and Kandahar provinces. Officials said say the project had so far earned about $60 million in revenue.
Currently, Afghanistan is connected with Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Iran through the fibre optic. Afghanistan purchases 150MB internet from Iran, 350 MB from Uzbekistan and 600MB from Pakistan, according to Sangin.
The price of per megabyte internet purchased from Iran was $350, from Uzbekistan it was $1,000 and from Pakistan $160, he said, adding the facility would be provided to the users through DSL, 3G and WiMAX and the WiMAX soon.
On March 18, the government awarded the first-ever licence for activating the Third Generation (3G) system to the Etisalat telecommunication company.
A contract to the effect was signed between representatives of the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) and the United Arab Emirates telecom giant in Kabul.
An improved system compared to digital and analogue regimes, the 3G technology provides a high-speed Internet facility for mobile phones. The system has the capability of face-to-face video calls on mobile phone sets.
Private internet providing company owners were also happy with the decrease in prices of internet.
“Currently consumers at internet cafes are charged 40 to 50 afs per hour and the cost is being considerably reduced,” Sami Hashmi, director of Afghan Cyber Company, said.
Currently 40 internet providers are operating in the country and eight percent of the country's 26 million populations have access to internet. The percentage will be increased to 50 over next three years, MCIT officials say.