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Probably a stupid question . . .

 
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Sadebugo



Joined: 10 May 2003
Posts: 519

PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 10:32 pm    Post subject: Probably a stupid question . . . Reply with quote

I'm returning to SA after a hiatus of three years. When I left, internet service was widely available in the kingdom, but limited to dial-up. How about now? Are there any faster services such as cable/DSL? I can hear the laughter now!

Thanks in advance for your replies!
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Paul in Saudi



Joined: 03 Mar 2003
Posts: 392
Location: Doha, Qatar

PostPosted: Thu May 27, 2004 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well here in Jeddah, I have been using a censorship-free satellite-based ISP. Nice and fast. On the other hand these services are illegal and expensive.

Further, they put me on a (censored) leased line about two weeks ago. If they do not restore me to full service they will never see their fancy modem again.
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Sadebugo



Joined: 10 May 2003
Posts: 519

PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Paul!

I know satellite tv is also illegal! I guess I'll talk to a number of ISPs when I get there and find out what the options are.

Take care
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Cleopatra



Joined: 28 Jun 2003
Posts: 3657
Location: Tuamago Archipelago

PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, no, satellite TV is not illegal - which is not neccessarily to say that it's entirely legal either. I do believe it is one of those "grey areas" like solo women in taxis!

That said, Satellite TV companies operate openly and there's no trouble at all getting hooked up. One of the networks - Orbit - is owned by Saudis,and that is the most common package, but what you get is mostly Arab stuff.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12904
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 8:59 pm    Post subject: TV or not TV Reply with quote

Dear Cleopatra,
I could be wrong but I believe satellite TV IS "officially illegal" - which is, of course, a joke (I could see about 100 dishes from my 5th floor window). But I think what's being talked about here is a satellite internet connection, which is definitely "officially illegal" - though still a joke since some of the princes are said to run the services. Here's an excerpt from an very interesting blog;

"How do you avoid being intercepted?
All Saudi ISP's are connected to the outside world thru a bank of servers in the KACST (King AbdulAziz City of Science and Technology), where no doubt much listening goes on. However, like many Saudis, I illegally use a satellite link for my connexion. This materializes who-knows-where in the wider Internet. Maybe there is also some form of relay involved. Who knows?'

It's from here:

http://muttawa.blogspot.com/2004_04_01_muttawa_archive.html

Is this guy for real? Don't know, but I truly enjoy reading his stuff.

and here's another excerpt, dealing specifically with satellite TV:

"Television eventually took root but was carefully controlled through government-run channels until satellite dishes began sprouting in the 1990s. Though religious leaders issued a proclamation condemning satellite TV, its appeal was overwhelming and unstoppable. Still technically illegal, satellite service is readily available over store counters, and the number of hookups is estimated in the millions."

from

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/2003/12/19/news/world/7526730.htm?1c

My impression (not ever having been a TV watcher when I was there) is that satellite TV is "illegal" much in the sense that liquor was in the USA during Prohibition.
Regards,
John
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Stephen Jones



Joined: 21 Feb 2003
Posts: 4124

PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2004 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The fine for posseissing a satellite TV dish is one million dollars.

I am not joking.

It was imposed some time in 1994 I think. When he heard it the deputy head at the school I worked at in Riyadh was seen scrambling about on his rooftop frantically trying to take it down. When he realized the next day he was the only one to have done so, and when after a week no one got fined (and to the best of my knowledge no one has been fined up to this day) he sheepishly put it back up again.

The reason for the draconian measure was that the Shoura was going to pass a bill regulating Satellite TV, and as the Saudi Royal Family, and close associates, had spent hundreds of millions of dollars setting up the Arabic satellite channels, the idea didn't appeal.

The ban was a masterstroke. None even the most militant muttawa could baulk at a million dollar fine, and the fact that there was never any intention of enforcing the ban kept everybody else happy as well.
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Sadebugo



Joined: 10 May 2003
Posts: 519

PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2004 12:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all your insight! But, can anyone tell me how I might contact one of these satellite internet providers. Or, do I have to cruise the streets of south Jeddah as if I were looking for a drug dealer?
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