REEDOM ON THE
LYD 120 ($93) and from LYD 260 ($202) to LYD 220 ($171) for households.
As of the first
quarter of 2013, a dial-up internet subscription cost LYD 10 per month ($7), an ADSL subscription
was LYD 20 ($15) for 20GB, and WiMAX was LYD 30 ($23) for 15GB. WiMAX modems remain
in short supply since February 2012, resulting in high prices for second-hand devices sold on the
site Open Souk, Libya’s online marketplace.
Many foreign and Libyan organizations and individuals in need of a reliable and legal internet
service contract have been driven towards “two-way” satellite internet technology. As two-way
technology has become more popular, connection fees and equipment costs have been lowered.
Prices are now at LYD 800 ($622) for the hardware and a monthly subscription costs LYD 255
($198) for a fast connection and 30 GB bundle, depending on the number of users.
The Libyan civil war heavily disrupted the country’s telecommunications sector, with the damage
estimated at over $1 billion.
Upgrades have been projected in an effort to respond to demands for
increased capacity, such as the laying of the European Indian Gateway and Silphium submarine
the construction of additional WiMAX towers,
the creation of Wi-Fi hotspots, the
installation of a long distance fiber-optic cable within the country,
and the development of next
The adult literacy rate is 89 percent and a wide range of websites and
computer software is available in Arabic.
However, limited computer literacy, particularly among
women, has been an obstacle to universal access.
Since there have been little improvements to ICT equipment since the Qadhafi era, internet speeds
remain extremely slow at an average speed of less than 256Kbps, prompting frustrated Libyans to
create the Facebook page titled, “I hate Libyan Telecom and Technology,” which has reached over
IT experts familiar with the issue have cited poor infrastructure, a lack of
quality of service, technology constraints and continued lack of regulations. Furthermore,
broadband is not widely available, bandwidth limitations exist for fixed-line connections, wireless
users face slower speeds due to heavy congestion during peak hours, and there is a general lack of
resources and personnel to perform maintenance and repairs.
“Now, Libya Max service from Libya Telecom and Technology worth 120 dinars for personal rather than 160,” [in Arabic]
Libya Telecom & Technology, http://www.ltt.ly/news/d.php?i=188, accessed July 23, 2013.
See http://ly.opensooq.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/OpenSooq.Libya it even has a mobile app now.
See http://www.giga.ly/ or https://www.facebook.com/Giga.ltd
“Libya – Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband,” Budde.com, accessed August 21, 2013,
“The Activation of The New Upgraded Submarine Cable System between Libya and Italy,” The Tripoli Post, December 25,
“ZTE suggest Libya will boast nationwide WiMAX network by Aug‐13,” TeleGeography, January 24, 2013,
“Italian Company to Install Fiber‐Optic Network,” Libya Business News, September 29, 2012, http://bit.ly/RbnhMm.
Tom Westcott, “Improving Libya’s Internet Access,” Business Eye, February 2013, pp. 18, available at
“Literacy rate, adult total (% of people ages 15 and above),” The World Bank, accessed August 21, 2013,
Interview with ex‐Libyana IT engineer on March 2013.
REEDOM ON THE
Qadhafi’s forces strategically limited access to the internet and mobile phones during the civil war,
with general access restored in August 2011.
Since the end of the conflict, there have been no
government-imposed restrictions on connectivity, but problems remain due to damaged
infrastructure. Since May 2012 there have been several disruptions to service, such notably a 26-
hour cut in the entire Eastern region in June 2012
and cuts in areas of Tripoli during in July
Rolling blackouts continued over the past year, particularly due to an overload in electricity
demand during summer and winter months, when air conditioning or heating is used. These
blackouts are due, in part, to damage to the electricity grid that occurred as a result of the civil
war, estimated at $1 billion.
The state-run Libyan Post Telecommunications and Information Technology Company (LIPTC),
formerly the General Post and Telecommunications Company (GPTC), is the main
telecommunications operator and is fully owned by the government. In 1999, the GPTC awarded
the first internet service provider (ISP) license to Libya Telecom and Technology (LTT), a
subsidiary of the state-owned firm. At least seven other companies—including Modern World
Communication, Alfalak, and Bait Shams—have also been licensed to provide internet services,
though LTT retains sole control over Libya’s international gateway to the internet.
owns two mobile phone providers, Almadar and Libyana, while a third provider, Libya Phone, is
owned by the LIPTC’s subsidiary, LTT.
Since the revolution, most people access the internet from their homes and workplaces
(particularly those working for foreign organizations or companies), followed by mobile phones,
and hotel lobbies. The cybercafe industry, quasi-decimated in many parts of Libya during the
conflict, is starting to return to profitable business through catering mainly to foreign workers and
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls.
The post-conflict regulatory environment remains very unclear. The newly elected government has
a Ministry of Communication, but it has expressed no clear vision for the future. During the
Qadhafi era, decisions on licensing were made by the government-controlled GPTC. There was
talk in 2006 surrounding the creation of a new regulator, the General Telecom Authority (GTA),
though after the 2011 uprising, it remained unclear whether the GTA had come into existence.
Some suspected the GTA had been formed to oversee the monitoring of online activities.
“Project Cyber Dawn v1.0, Libya,” The Cyber Security Forum Initiative, April 17, 2011, p. 20,http://www.unveillance.com/wp‐
“Internet service back in each of the following areas,” [in Arabic] Libya Telecom & Technology,
http://www.ltt.ly/news/d.php?i=200, accessed July 23, 2013.
“Internet service outages and Libya iPhone spare result in optical fiber,” [in Arabic] Libya Telecom & Technology,
http://www.ltt.ly/news/d.php?i=203, accessed July 23, 2013.
“Cost of last year’s damage to electricity industry put at $1bn,” The Libya Herald, March 28,2012,
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, “The Status of Information for Development Activities in North Africa,”
(paper presented at the twentieth meeting of the Intergovernmental committee of experts, Tangier, Morocco, April 13‐15,
2005), http://www.uneca.org/na/Information.pdf;“Internet Filtering in Libya – 2006/2007,” OpenNet Initiative,
2007,http://opennet.net/studies/libya2007; “Telecoms in Libya”[in Arabic], Marefa.org, accessed August 30, 2012,
REEDOM ON THE
The Libyan web has opened up extensively since the fall of Qadhafi in August 2011. The online
media landscape quickly developed as restrictions and regulations on publishing dissipated during
the extended period of instability. As internet use has increased, so has the market for online
advertising, contributing to the overall expansion of Libyan news sites and online services.
Facebook in particular has become an important news source for many Libyans. Under the various
transitional and interim governments, censorship remained low and sporadic. Over the past year,
however, there have been a few cases of the state blocking content for political reasons. Moreover,
habits from decades of oppressive rule and the continued threat posed by militias contribute some
degree of self-censorship among users, particularly on sensitive subject areas. These concerns
presented some limits on content over the past year, although it is still too early to tell what
direction Libya is moving during this highly-fluid, uncertain transitional period.
Web 2.0 services such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and international blog-hosting platforms
are freely accessible in Libya. In fact, the “Innocence of Muslims” film that sparked protests outside
the American consulate in Benghazi was not blocked by Libyan authorities, although it was made
inaccessible by YouTube’s parent company, Google. Facebook was inaccessible for at least one day
in November 2012, although the LTT was quick to explain on its website that this was not the
result of state censorship but rather a glitch from the company.
While the defeat of the Qadhafi
regime led to a cessation of state blocking in August 2011, many Qadhafi-era government webpages
containing information on laws and regulations from before the uprising are inaccessible, as is the
online archive of the old state-run Libyan newspapers. Some of these websites may have become
defunct after the officials running them were ousted or hosting fees were left unpaid, but others
were likely taken down deliberately when the revolutionaries came to power.
As mentioned, there have been some instances of blocking recorded during the coverage period.
For example, the website of the television channel Russia Today (RT) was inaccessible in Libya in
early March 2013. RT had posted an interview with Mahmoud Jibril, head of the National Forces
Alliance, in which it was alleged that Libya’s last Prime Minister under Qadhafi, Baghdadi al-
Mahmoudi, was tortured in custody by government authorities after his recent extradition from
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology actually confirmed that
RT was blocked on their Facebook page, as well as the blocking of another website called Makala.
The English site of RT was later unblocked, although as of March 2013, the Arabic version could
only be accessed through a cached copy or proxy.
“Reasons for the stop of social networking site Facebook,” [in Arabic] Libya Telecom & Technology,
http://www.ltt.ly/news/d.php?i=215, accessed July 23, 2013.
Chris Stephen and Luke Harding, “Libya’s former PM Mahmoudi ‘tortured’ on forced return to Tripoli,” The Guardian, June
27, 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jun/27/libya‐mahmoudi‐tortured‐return‐tripoli.
See post by the Ministry of Communications and Informatics – Libya [in Arabic],
Documents you may be interested
Documents you may be interested