Sunday, December 19, 2004

Omantel finally sees the light

In 2004 the number of US households with broadband connections surpassed households with dial-up connections for the first time.

And on December 18, 2004 Oman's best-loved company, Omantel, finally announced broadband for the masses. Of course, we don't know how much of their announcement is real and how much is just vapour. Broadband has been available in Muscat on a "trial basis" since around March 2003. I know people who've been using it over a year. In fact, Omantel has officially launched their broadband product around March of this year but the price was too high and they didn't have enough lines. They couldn't bother to go connect everyone's homes.

So here we are nine months later, and guess what? It's like it's never happened. They're launching it as if it was something new. Huge launch event at the Bustan Palace. Billboard ads all over town "Have you got the power?". Etc, etc. But as Omantel goes, it's a good deal. For household use, the price is just RO. 12 per month plus 1 rial per GB. You worry that those gigs will pile up quick? Well the price is capped at RO. 39 a month max. Ok, so 100 bucks a month for internet is a lot, especially when the speed is just 384 download / 128 upload. But hey it's a start, and come on how many people gonna download that much anyhow. Most people won't go beyond 5 to 10GB a month, if even. And who knows, if the service does take off maybe we can dream of flat rates or maybe even faster lines within a year. Oh how I miss my 1 megabit line from Glasgow.

PS. I'm posting this by email. First time I use this. Hope it works.

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