I’ve been uploading this 1 minute 24 second video since last night. That’s over 12 hours and it is not half way uploaded.

Despite incessant claims about Lebanon’s internet vastly improving over recent years, the upload rate remains among the world’s slowest. It is almost impossible to shoot even very short videos and upload them immediately–a major blow to digital news gathering, activism even simple communication such as Skype, which doesn’t work half the time.

Currently Lebanon ranks below Botswana and Equatorial Guinea on the global upload index and only slightly ahead of a handful of war-devasted countries such as Syria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Officials say upload speeds cannot technically improve on the current copper telephone network (a claim I’ve never fully understood). Instead, they say we will have to wait for the rollout of a new fiber optic network, an ongoing project that has faced a lot of vague hurdles and a constantly changing completion date.

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Habib Battah
Habib Battah is an investigative journalist and founder of the news site beirutreport.com. Battah has covered Lebanon and the Middle East for over 15 years and teaches journalism and media studies at the American University of Beirut. He is a contributor to Monocle, The Guardian, BBC World, Al Jazeera and others, a former fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at Oxford University and two-time recipient of the Samir Kassir Press Freedom Award. Battah's investigative work was recently recognized for outstanding local reporting by the Columbia University Oakes Award for Environmental Reporting. Battah earned a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. in Near East Studies and Journalism from New York University.

2 COMMENTS

  1. It’s not got to do with wires. It’s got to do with the income telecomms gives to the government, or certain people in the government. Why make it better when that opens it to private sector? Lebanon could have 1GB connection within weeks, maybe days, if a tap was turned. Other, much less developed nations do.

  2. Thats interesting because I have several senior telecom advisors on record who tell me upload cannot be increased with current infrastructure. Are you absolutely sure that is not the case?

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