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The Palestinian Authority Joins the World Wide Web

The Palestinian Authority has just been granted independent statehood, at least as far as the World Wide Web is concerned.

ISO, the organization responsible for handing out Web suffixes, recently granted the Palestinian Authority their own suffix of (.ps). Until now Palestinian organizations and businesses have had to go under Israels (. il) domain suffix.

The decision was made official at a special ceremony, where Dr. Hassan Kada, technological consultant to the Palestinian president, made the announcement.

To date, the Palestinian Authority has had to make use of Israeli Internet suppliers such as Bezeq and Netvision, to provide service and lines. Approximately 6.9 percent of the households in the Palestinian Authority have computers today, with an estimated 33,800 computers in total, a majority within the West Bank.

There are currently 9 private Internet service providers within the Palestinian Authority, furnishing 7,840 subscribers with dial-up service. Some of the larger private organizations and the public universities have direct point to point service. The new Palestinian Authority Internet web center is managed out of Birzet University.

As of yet, the use of the Internet has been a costly one for citizens of this newly formed state. An Internet dial-up connection within the Palestinian Authority runs anywhere from $15-$25 dollars a month, not including time spent on-line, compared to the average monthly household income of $300 dollars. A point to point hook-up can cost anywhere between $200-$400 dollars a month, with a bandwidth of 128 KBPS to 768 KBPS.

To lower these costs, the Authority has said that with an independent suffix and improved service, by mid-2000, theyll be prepared to offer independent Internet connections to each one of the Palestinian Internet service providers.

A plan is in the works involving an underwater cable that will run between Tel-Aviv and Gaza. The project is being put together by an outfit called Med1. The firm previously installed the LEV cable, Israels primary outside source to the World Wide Web.

The plan involves connecting LEV to the new Palestinian cable, so that by some point next year, Gaza will be able to connect to the main backbone of the United States without having to use Bezeq or other Israeli ISPs.