Monday, March 12, 2012

Does Orego [Lebanon] Block SkypeOut to all ISPs?

Two months ago Lebanon's Acting Chairman and CEO of  Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, Dr. Imad Hoballah, said in an interview that ".. Broadband service providers and operators are at risk of becoming dumb–pipe providers .. . The first option [to monetize OTT services] is to avoid competition with those [OTT] providers by delivering an extra layer of value that only they can provide" (see "Lebanon's Regulator Presents Business Models for OTT Monetization" - here). 

It seems that the reality is different, and the DPI equipment mentioned by the regulator as a tool to provide a an "extra layer of value" is used differently:

An Internet user in Lebanon complains at Lebgeeks that "For the past month, I have no been able to make any successful calls. The phone rings on the other side, when the call connects none of the parties hear anything. After a certain number of seconds, the call is automatically dropped. I have reproduced this on TerraNet, IDM and Alfa 3G [here]. Can anyone confirm this? Note: I am talking about the situation where you are calling from your PC to a landline or mobile phone. This does not affect PC-to-PC calling, which is working fine".

Few hours later, the user reports that "Update: I just talked to Nuclearcat (who works at VISP), it seems that Ogero has indeed blocked SkypeOut. This means all (legal) ISPs are affected. It seems that deep packet inspection is being used. Any further technical info about the filtering would be appreciated".

See "Skype (PC-to-Phone) being filtered?" - here.

OGERO (Organisme de Gestion et d'Exploitation de l'ex Radio Orient) was established in 1972 to manage and operate the telegraph and submarine telecommunications of Radio Orient (the early 1900's ). It is 100% owned by the government and acts under the supervision of the Minister of Telecommunication.

Orego also charges customers by usage levels - "The Customer can download 24h/24 but he will be paying extra charges when his upload/download exceeds certain thresholds. These thresholds are as follows depending on the subscription plan: 
4 GB for the 1 Mbps connection.
10 GB for the 1 Mbps connection.
20 GB for the 2 Mbps connection.
25 GB for the 4 Mbps connection.
30 GB for the 6 to 8 Mbps connection. 

40 GB for the HDSL 2 Mbps connection" (here)

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