Armenia May Lose World Internet Connection

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenia is facing a real threat of losing its international computer service. The "ArmenTel" company demanded that "Arminco," the largest provider of e-mail and Internet services in Armenia–should leave the space it had rented at a building belonging to ArmenTel by March 15. Arminco has all the vital equipment necessary for international e-mail services in these very premises.

Arminco Executive Director Andranik Alexanian told Noyan Tapan that the total removal from that building would take his company six months. ArmenTel Executive Director Nazaret Voskerchian would not allow Arminco to postpone the date of departure despite the mediation of Minister of Post and Telecommunications Artak Vardanian.

As a result–Armenia may lose its computer service and get isolated from the outer world for an uncertain period of time. According to Alexanian–all customers of Arminco will be deprived of computer services–including ArmenTel–which is also among Arminco’s customers. However–it involves some additional risks too: if the computer code given to Armenia–the so-called "am domain," is not operated for seven days–it will be automatically destroyed and will require tremendous efforts to have it restored.

In Alexanian’s opinion–ArmenTel is in pursuit of ousting Arminco–which serves 90 percent of all e-mail and Internet users.

The decision to remove Arminco from the building was taken in the break of Arminco’s repeated appeals to ArmenTel to be provided with a high-speed (256 kb/sec) digital satellite channel. ArmenTel–as a monopolist channel distributor–ought to have met the request–but failed despite the assistance of the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication in the matter.

Also–Arminco occupies but small room on one of the floors in the building belonging to ArmenTel–while the rest of the floor is vacant.

Alexanian is optimistic that all sides concerned will be able to come to terms by March 15 and start seeking ways for further cooperation. Otherwise–Armenia will sustain extensive damage–let alone its international image–which will be disrupted as well.

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