The spokesperson of the?Libyan Transitional Government, announced on Wednesday that Libya will soon allow private local companies to provide internet services to subscribers throughout the country.
This is the first initiative of its kind that the Libyan government has ever offered. During the Gaddafi era, the Internet was monitored and controlled by the state. The public company ?Libya Telecom and Technology? monopolized the field, guaranteeing government control over information traffic.
Since licenses have not been allowed to private companies since the Internet first came to Libya in 1999, this recent step shows the development and the openness of Libya?s new information sector. ?This is a new step for private companies to enter the local market of internet,? added Manaa.
The number of internet users in Libya reached 353,900 in 2009. However, according to the Libyan Minister of Communications, Anwar Abu Bakr Alfitouri, ?Libya is still facing major challenges in developing the diverse framework required to provide its citizens e-services, such as online banking, payments, and commerce,? he explained.
The decision to open the Internet field to private companies was welcomed by commentators and observers of the Libyan government. Tahani Chrif, a political commentator said, ?We hope that the private sector gets involved in the country?s economy, and that all the companies compete fairly.?
Chrif also expressed her happiness and optimism that hopefully due to market competition, the prices for internet service will be less than they used to be. ?There will be many companies competing, citizens will have freedom of choice and thanks to that competition, the companies will offer the best price and services for people.?
Chrif, however, emphasized that the government in Libya should keep the public sector along with encouraging the private sector in order to protect citizens from an absolute free market economy. ?The public and the private sector should function side by side in order to create such kind of balance for the economy and for the people,? she concluded.