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[Nettime-nl] Internet restrictie in Central Asia
Eveline Lubbers on Mon, 24 Sep 2001 23:37:36 +0200 (CEST)

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[Nettime-nl] Internet restrictie in Central Asia

De oorlog komt er aan, de verbindingen worden alvast

From:           	David Banisar <dbanisar {AT} privacy.org>

New Internet access restrictions imposed in Central Asia

Internet access in the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, 
Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan is increasingly being threatened by new 
technologies and price controls, according to a report issued by 
EurasiaNet, an online news source.

In Kyrgyzstan, the national telecom has begun a massive cost increase 
through the implementation of a new "modem tax." Internet service 
providers are now required to pay an increased fee in order to 
provide access to their customers. The providers will almost 
certainly pass on the costs of the new tax to their subscribers, 
further limiting an already weak Internet industry in the country.

In Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, the restrictions are more technological 
than digital, yet just as threatening, as they directly influence the 
free flow of information on the Internet. The two largest telecoms in 
the two countries, Kazakhtelekom and Uzpak, have announced plans to 
use cheap fiber optic cable lines from a Chinese company, 
Chinatelecom, to reduce access fees for their customers.

While the new system is cheaper, it comes with the same Internet 
restrictions China imposes on its domestic users. As a result, a 
large majority of Uzbek and Kazakh Internet users will be unable to 
access many Western sites, or any other online content the Chinese 
government chooses to filter.

Although alternate connections exist, technology analysts consider 
them ineffective and useless. Irina Kubasova, who coordinates the 
Global Internet Policy Initiative's (GIPI) freedom of expression 
efforts in Kazakhstan, stated, "Many people are unaware of 
alternatives or it is too complex for some people."

Although few analysts believed Central Asia had embraced the Internet 
when these developments occurred, it did seem to be one industry the 
regional governments were willing to leave in citizens' control. The 
presidents of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan had previously acknowledged 
the importance of the Internet for their societies. These recent 
developments, however, cast doubt on the region's commitment to 
promoting Internet use among its population.

For more information, visit EurasiaNet at 

(September 18, 2001)
David Banisar, Research Fellow   
Harvard Information Infrastructure Project
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
79 John F. Kennedy Street - Cambridge, MA  02138
Phone: 617-496-0104 -  Fax:  617-496-0606

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