What does it take to get an internet connection in El Gouna? One that works, that is… And that we can afford, too! The options are either a dial-up connection from Orascom.net or a wireless connection from Romolo.
At LE 100 per month, Orascom.net is probably suitable for residents with local salaries, but one has to fight with hundreds of other subscribers for the 50 existing lines. As a result, more often than not, obstinate connection attempts are only rewarded with a busy line and an error message. Even a victory at this stage is no guarantee of enjoyable surfing as, once online, the chance of getting disconnected every few minutes remains pretty good.
On the other hand, for LE 350 per month, Romolo promises amazingly fast wireless connection of 1 Mb. Although the quality is probably worth every piaster, what is the proportion of El Gouna residents who an afford it? The answer is: not that many.
Then again: you get what you pay for, fair enough! But what about something in-between? A solution that would allow us to contemplate the prospect of using internet without having to choose between a nervous breakdown and starvation for the rest of the month?
When asking for a reasonably cheap service which doesn’t work miracles but just get you there, on the net, here are the answers: Orascom.net has no intention to upgrade their system; they are associated with Romolo and the future is wireless. Romolo has no intention to reduce the prices; they are struggling enough as it is. No promises, but maybe, in the long term, they will be able to offer a not-so-powerful and not-so-expensive wireless option.
In the meantime, pick your preference! As I am no good candidate for starvation, I’ll stick to the beep-tut-tut-screech!
Report by Françoise