March 13, 2009

Wi-Fi for Laptops in Syrian Internet Cafés
Aleppo, Syria

A new one for me in the old world of Internet cafés has been Syria's acceptance of laptops. A terribly savvy business move, cafés seem to more than happy to let customers come in with their machines and use the wireless access, paying for their time used in advance with a pre-paid account (that's started/verified within the browser).

Even more of an amazing twist on this is that you can actually pay for a specific amount of data transferred, not just time used! Simply the first time I've ever even heard of such a thing in a café, users with this type of plan need not fret about slow transfer speeds.

I've been required to present my passport so that staffers can record my details at every café. Locals must present identification for the same reason (probably so that someone can hunt you down should your activities attract the attention of the government).

These are pricing photos from a pair of cafés that I visited. One doesn't allow voice chat over their network. Currently it's about 47 Syrian pounds to the dollar.

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