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Hi This is a report on the status of the internet services in Iraq. 1- The state company for internet services (SCIS), part of the Ministry of communication, was established nearly two years ago. One can not talk about the internet without talking about the communication system, because it is the backbone of the internet. 2- Most of our electronic telephone exchanges, installed late 70’s, were destroyed during 1991 along with the microwave links between the exchanges. Equipment were salvaged from the destroyed exchanges put together to form the communication system of the 90’s. The several years of sanctions and with no spare parts easily available the system deteriorated fast. Up until phase 5 of the MOU the UN refused to recognize that communication was part of the humanitarian need of the people. In phase 5(or 6) they authorized the International telecommunication union (ITU) to study the situation and recommend ways to “REHABILITATE” the system. The ITU decided that you can not rehabilitate a dead system and that Iraq should be allowed to upgrade and replace its system. Contracts were signed to replace the system and I am told that some one million lines telephone exchanges and associated communication equipment were contracted. Some of the exchanges arrived only about 2 months ago and should be operational within two months. I have asked ITU Baghdad office for a copy of the reports and will forward them to the list manager when and if I get it. 3- With communication problems like these SCIS decided to introduce the service in stages. Phase One was the introduction of internet services to government offices via special radio links. Phase Two was the introduction of e-mail service to privet individuals (subscriptions) and also internet browsing, any one can pay to have access , at internet café’s again using radio links between the café and the server. Established companies who could afford the charges, prohibitively expensive, were given internet radio link access also. Very limited and very expensive, dial up connections were allowed. Phase three was the introduction of ability to send and receive e-mail via the telephone and without going to the internet café. This has resulted in the upsurge of subscribers and traffic to the point it became next to impossible to get a connection now to download the e-mail let alone browsing the internet even if it is given. The communication system simply can not take such a load. It is estimated that there are more than 10000 subscribers on e-mail alone. We are hoping that the new telephone exchanges will solve the problems. 4- To overcome these communication problems and allow other cities to have the access a new company was established at the ministry of information. This company has started to transmit in Baghdad Digital TV Broadcasting. !4 satellite channels are broadcasted digitally to homes. A decoder box will allow to display them on normal TV ( this part of the project is operational in Baghdad now). Additional facility are going to be introduced within months by which internet access will be available on TV or on computers attached to the decoder box. This technology will allow internet on TV without having to invest in buying computers or having access to a clean telephone line. All is needed is a keyboard attached to the decoder box and a TV set. It is planed that all major population centers will covered by this technology. When this is finished Iraq will be among the few countries that implemented a country wide terrestrial digital TV with the added benefit of internet access. With improved communication system and the new digital transmission internet access will be available to vast majority of the people. Best regards Ghazwan Al-MukhtaR Baghdad, Iraq _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk