Saudi Arabia is where I lived and worked for over a decade
Note: If you are looking for a comparison of various ISPs from aperformance point of view, or from end user feedback, then please checkour Service Watch section for details.
If you compare the cost of accessing the internet in the Arab region, versus what it costs in USA and Canada, you will find it much less favorable.
In the United States, a regular unlimited access monthly account would cost around 20 US$. Moreover, there are absolutely no charges per minute from the local phone company.
Update - March 2000 It seems that Alexandria, Egypt has now surpassed Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in the internet speed! During Eid/Hajj holidays, my surfing experience in Alexandria, Egypt was significantly better than the daily suffering in Jeddah. How long is a string? How high is up? What I mean is how fast is fast? Speed is a relative thing. Having said that, we can offer comparison with Internet access in other countries in the region. Compared to (say) the internet in Alexandria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia's internet seem to be more consistent,
All Points of Presence (PoP) are managed by the Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC), which is the recently privatized "Phone Company". They use modem banks equipped with 56Kbps V.90 Modems, which work pretty well. Access kingdomwide is through "360-xxxx" numbers which does a per minute charge back to your phone bill. This is over and above what you pay your ISP. Initially, there are 5,000 such lines available kingdomwide, divided evenly for all licensed ISPs, giving each one about 125 dial-in
Rumors circling in 1998 stated that Saudi Arabia will use a "white list" approach to filtering out sites that are considered offensive. This implied that all sites were blocked until proven non-offensive, as opposed to the more usual approach of "black listing" specific sites. This rumor proved to be totally untrue, and only certain offensive sites are blocked. The entity, called the Internet Service Unit (ISU) appointed to watch for
Important Note: This web site is not updated on a regularbasis. The information in it is current as of Summer 2000. Prices and speeds may have changed since.