DSL, connectivity, progress: things not happening in Greece

It is not the first time I am writing about my frustration with internet connectivity in Greece. In a country such as Greece, with more than 60% of its land being in the form of islands or mountainous terrain, making human communication and transportation difficult, one would think that advanced telecoms would be available to the masses; one would also reasonably expect that those services would be cheap, so that most people could enjoy them. Unfortunately, this is far from true; Despite being an EU country, I am sorry to say that Greek transportation and connectivity is among the worst I’ve seen in *any* western country. The roads are neglected as much as a road can be, several not tourist-friendly places are extremely hard to reach — especially islands — and, last but not least, communication services are years behind the rest of Europe. And mentioning ‘Europe’ does not limit this to the EU: Even countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Cyprus, some with much smaller ‘target markets’ than Greece, where people have much lower income and are not at all acquainted with technology the way Western people are, enjoy much better telecommunications, be it for data or voice. Something like this is completely incomprehensible to me.

But let me elaborate on DSL, the reason for this posting. A few days ago and with a delay of about 3 years, the greek — formerly national — telco, OTE, announced its prices for DSL provision. Needless to say, one can get much better connectivity in a third-world or developing country, cheaper than in Greece. This has led to the — once again — ridiculing of Greece all over Europe with, justifiably, angry Greek internet users notifying the press abroad; Some even reached the point of sending letters to the European Commission and letting them know too. But surely, the indifference and apathy of those not benefiting combined with the large amounts of money the current situation provides for those who do, leave the end-user pray to OTE’s and their suppliers’ interests. For current dial-up prices, combined with the subscription, call and modem charges as well as the low bandwidth requirements benefit the telco and ISPs much more than always-on, flat-rate, high-bandwidth DSL/Cable connections would.
So have we reached a point where government corruption, EU apathy and commercial interests doom an EU country to eternal net-martyrdom? It seems so, for as soon as OTE announced their readiness for DSL provision, came their prices which are beyond any European’s imagination; it makes Ireland (another country where local interests forced the population to wait too long for high-quality broadband services) seem like paradise. The Register, The Inquirer and several other Greek publications have written about this fiasco. I suppose partly responsible is Greek peoples’ apathy, but this does not console me.
I suppose one must occassionally involve oneself with less important issues such as this, considering the malice or mishaps in the world in order to remain sane.