The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) was formally activated in January 2013 to provide common telecommunication services to the humanitarian community responding to the crisis in Syria and surrounding countries.
The humanitarian community rely on technology services for all aspects of their operations from reporting and coordination, to ensuring the security and safety of staff in the field. Since the Cluster was activated, ETC has deployed common services across the region.
As global ETC lead, WFP works in collaboration with partner agencies including UNHCR, UNDSS and UNICEF to deliver common services. Regular ETC Syria teleconferences ensure coordination and information-sharing on a global level, and working group meetings are held at a local level.
ETC Syria operates under the “Whole of Syria” approach which encompasses Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey where the ETC provides services.
Most users in Syria access the internet via mobile broadband (3G) services from Syriatel and MTN.
Other internet access methods such as ADSL, dial-up and leased lines are also available, however, slow speeds and blackouts hamper productivity.
International internet gateways and all fixed line infrastructure is controlled by Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE), which is also an Internet Services Provider (ISP).
The centralisation of control adds to the periodic connectivity problems experienced by users.
Telephony infrastructure in Syria is managed by the state-controlled Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE).
Landlines are provided by STE only, while mobile services are provided by two privately-owned mobile operators, Syriatel and MTN Syria.
Within Damascus there is VHF and HF radio network coverage. Two UN repeaters provide coverage in Damascus on Channel 3 and Channel 4.
In the other operational locations in Syria, the UN does not have repeater coverage. As such, VHF simplex channels are used which provide coverage up to a maximum of 30-40km.
In Syria the standard voltage is 220 V.
The standard frequency is 50 Hz.
The power sockets used are type C / E / L.
Overload on the national power grid means that the voltage fluctuates which can damage equipment.
Syrian Telecommunications Establishment (STE)
Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA)
Official approval from the MOFA is required before telecommunications equipment can be imported into Syria.
As of July 2015, the Syria ETC’s official requests to import equipment have not been approved by MOFA. In addition, a number of limitations are placed on the ETC in terms of what equipment can be imported, for example only analogue radio equipment is allowed (digital equipment is not allowed).
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