The Major Internet Connectivity and ISP Policy Problems in Jordan

The number of Internet end-users in Jordan has increased sixfold in the last seven years., According to the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission website, there are now 5.9 million users. 

As stated in the Internet World Stats report for the first quarter of 2015, Jordan is the fifth in the Middle East regarding the number of Internet users. However, Jordan is still looking for better services and a larger increase in the number of Internet end-users.

An analysis of the main factors affecting Internet connections in Jordan, including service, regulatory, pricing and business issues, leads us to make recommendations for improving Internet connections. The major connectivity problems in Jordan can be summarized in the following points:

•    High prices and low market maturity decelerate broadband penetration in Jordan. Through bundled services, broadband is provided with other services like telephone and TV content. This constitutes a key enabler for price reduction and economies of scale for service providers.
•    Regional and international connectivity to the Internet is both complex (no regional backbones) and costly in Jordan. The improvement in connectivity and peering, as well as the emergence of powerful service providers capable of negotiating better interconnection prices with the main Internet backbones, would drastically reduce underlying costs.
•    Mass broadband adoption is the result of the availability of content and applications that are pertinent to internet end-users in their native language, and contributes in turn to the promotion of increased productivity in the economy as a result of this mass adoption.
•    The development of digital Arabic content on the Internet to become the main medium for the exchange of information between end-users in their native language.

In addition to the connectivity problems, other factors constrain Internet penetration in Jordan and limit the number of Internet end-users. The policies applied by the Jordanian Media Commission, the former Department of Press and Publication) and the Jordanian internet service providers (ISPs) are very restricted according to the views of the internet users.

The ISPs policies enable them to control access to the internet as they can control content. They use different blocking techniques to prevent users from accessing specific websites or content. The use and application of these policies limit the usage of the Internet and may prevent the number of Internet users from increasing.

The different blocking and censoring techniques,such as DNS tampering, IP blocking IP or TCP reset packet injection, indicate that the ISPs are working closely with government in order to control Internet access and prevent access to specific websites and content. DNS tampering is a way to limit the ISP’s liability.

It additionally, it leaves space for users to select different features of the Internet that grant them access to any content online like proxies,  in the other hand, a more intricate technique, like TCP reset, reflects a sophisticated approach used by the ISP to gain full control over monitoring traffic and accessing data.

Ahlam Abu-Jadallah ( Jordan ) Head of National Domain Names Section at National Information Technology Center