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Internet access for the masses!

posted at 11:00

I remember the actual government of Greece claiming that the Internet should be on every home, that all students should have the same opportunities over this, that it is very important to develop the IT landscape for the future and other such empty of content fat words, govs use to spread - it's their job, isn't it?

I read this morning in this MacUser Uk post, that Greece is the most expensive country in Europe, when it comes to the Internet access offer.

The survey passes over a sample of 1Mbps access, throughout several countries. Maybe the example of Lithuania is not that relevant, surely there is some hic behind this price. However, countries like the UK or France, show up prices around 29€, the average European price should be in the 37€ neighborhood. While Greece, the most expensive of all countries, flies up to 58€ a month!

My comments:

1. I don't think the average connection speed, by this moment all around Europe, is 1Mbps. There is so much difference in the infrastructure between the countries, that it is almost impossible to establish a common reference for all countries and compare access speeds. The 1Mbps for Greece is still a rocket speed but in France is considered already a thing of the past!

2. As usual, compare just numbers in the prices, is almost meaningless. What one should compare is relatively comparable units, like say hours of work. In this case (nimble calculations of mine) French will work about 4 hours for the 1Mbps while Greeks have to work 14 hours for the same thing!

3. I don't know where the survey took the data from, but as much as I know for France (OK, OK, I'm living there), the 1Mbps is almost not anymore in the offers. The most common is in the 5 to 10 Mbps area and this is for an average of 15€ a month.

4. As I'm concerned, I have a 24Mbps access for 29.90€ a month. That's 24 times faster than the one in this MacUser's post. I got an ISP named Free - see for yourself. The theoretical limit is some 24Mbs. Considering the loss by the distance, the age of the cables in my apartment, the spread of the signal to a multi-socketed installation, having an average of ~14Mbps, is quite satisfactory. See my speed test bellow. The 1Mbps is the third, my connection is at the bottom, in red.


Included in this price is a real telephone line with free and unlimited communications to many countries, like the US or Australia, the 100+ channel television, (alright, there's much crap in this but that's television in the beginning), not to mention some minor pluses, such as a router, a WiFi network, unlimited number of machines on the line (well, almost unlimited), a media center, the ability to watch and record TV on a computer screen, a huge file transfer service, unlimited number of mail accounts, unlimited number of 1Gb web hosting facilities etc…

If you want to measure your connection the way I did, look at this french, Mac Authority site: Macbidouille.

5. In my opinion, the only way to force prices to go down is put the ISPs in competition. And this is obtainable only by one means: boycott! What has happened in France for years is that people didn't step ahead to the broadband access. The media didn't stop to cry about "le retard de la France" in this domain. The ISPs didn't sell. Then one day, forced to follow or shut down their shops, they started proposing the cheap, the cheaper and the cheapest broadband access. Because it WAS possible to chew in their profit margins and lower prices. Then started the real price and offer war. At that point, people found, it was reasonable enough to buy. And we ended up with 2005 being the year of the broadband explosion.

Well, I believe in Greece - or any other suffering country - the real weapon against arrogant ISP policies, is boycott! Since you keep buying, whatever the price, thei're not fool to kill the goose that lays the golden egg! Stop buying, threaten this way the survival of their businesses and you'll se how fast prices will go to the basement! The law of offer and demand is a two way game!

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