Imagine having no internet for a day. It can’t be that difficult, can it? You can find things to do, offline work to get finished, people to talk to, books to read, TV shows to watch, etc. Now try to imagine a business without internet – obviously one that makes of the internet normally. Again, they might be behind on the day’s news, miss out on a couple of stock changes, and lose touch with some contacts and/or offices – but they’ll live through it. But what if it wasn’t just one person or business, and not even two, but an entire country without internet for a week! What would happen!?
Today, we were unlucky enough to find out. Actually, it turns out we were the “lucky” ones, at least according to the Jordan Telecom customer service manager we spoke to. In a nutshell, we’ve been having internet problems for the last week or so, and we didn’t have internet at all for most of today. The conversation went something along these lines:
NST: Hi, we just spoke to our ISP, and they told us to check with Jordan Telecom with regards to whether any maintenance is taking place on our phone line?
JTCom: What error are you getting?
NST: Something about a total ATM-Encapsulation failure.
JTCom: Hold on a moment, let me put the manager through.
JTCom: Hi, I hear you have a problem?
NST: Yeah, we don’t have internet, and it’s been acting really fuzzy for the past week or so.
JTCom: Oh yeah, we’re in the middle of an upgrade. Most of the country’s been without internet for the past week, you see.
NST: Oh really?! I knew there was something wrong, but this…
JTCom: Don’t worry, it’ll be over today. All I can promise you is, you won’t be waking me up tomorrow telling me ‘I don’t have internet!’ <chuckles>
NST: Ha ha. What time will the maintenace be over?
JTCom: I really can’t say. You’re very lucky you know. You say your ISP is TE Data? You guys only experienced short outages throughout the day. Most others didn’t have internet at all! You know, this is all to get you guys better service and relieve some of the ADSL pressure…
It’s quite sad. In a country where – no matter who your ISP is – you have to go through the state-sponsored telecom company in the middle (so they can make money, provide you with “useful” outages, and monitor all your traffic), we were only saved from a week without internet because of the fact that we get our ADSL pipeline straight from neighoring Egypt; allowing us to bypass the government “proxy” filter, and getting a (slow) line without a bandwidth-cap at a rate 6 times that of modernized countries – and with just about the highest latency ever. If we were – God Forbid – using JTCom as our ISP as well, we’d have been without internet for an entire week, as most other companies, organizations, and individuals found out to their disadvantage.
Even worse, no one was informed, at least, not that we can tell. It wasn’t in the state-censored newspapers, radio channels, or TV stations; and JTCom didn’t even bother sending an email, SMS, fax, or automated phone message to its subscribers. Instead, you had to live for a week without internet, like it or not; and you have no right to complain, ask for refunds, or get compensation for lost opportunites and/or revenue. Seeing as ADSL is the only internet option available (ignoring dial-up, and the outrageously-expensive satellite internet), the entire country was marooned for a week, and the sad thing is, no one even knows!