The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] Internet service status report


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
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]