Algeria, like most Arab countries, is blighted by the near-universal display of satellite dishes.
Algeria, like most Arab countries, is blighted by the near-universal display of satellite dishes. There are large, small, and point seemingly every which way, dominating the sky-line and balconies.
Now the government says it is time to think again.
The new service is being offered by Djaweb, a subsidiary of Algérie Télécom, and aims to gradually eliminate Algeria's estimated 12 million household satellite dishes. The pilot project centres on the capital's Mokhtar Zerhouni housing complex. Residents will be able to access phone, internet, and TV channels via a socket in their flat.
"The damage caused to our cities through the unrestrained proliferation of satellite dishes, which are mushrooming on balconies and building terraces, proved that it was time to put this to a stop and make our facades more presentable," Minister of Post, Information Technology and Communication Hamid Bessalah said last Thursday (September 10) at the official launch of a telco-provided ‘triple play’ system.
"I'm really happy this is being launched where I live," said Mohamed, a tech-minded student who lives at Mokhtar Zerhouni. "Getting all these services with no hassle is such a relief. No more rushing about, getting satellite receivers flashed or downloading codes illegally. With this service, we can finally watch the channels we want."
Roughly 60 TV channels will be available through "Triple Play", including the French ones, which are the most popular among Algerians.
But it costs. "I agree that it's nice to get rid of individual satellite dishes," says Mokhtar Zerhouni resident Fatiha. "They certainly don't look nice. But the service we're being offered is way too expensive. I work and have two children," she says, adding that Triple Play "would really make a hole" in her budget if added to her other expenses.