More Rural Areas to Get High-Speed Internet

More Rural Areas to Get High-Speed InternetMore Rural Areas to Get High-Speed Internet

High-speed Internet connectivity will be provided to 45 percent of the rural areas by the end of the next Iranian calendar year, (starts March 21), said president of the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) Ali Asghar Amidian.

“In the budget bill 2,380 billion rials ($71.5 million) was allocated this year (ends March 20) for information and communication development in rural areas, and the amount has been increased to 3,700 billion rials ($111 million) in the next year’s budget bill, to provide 25,000 villages high-speed Internet services by April 2016,” IANA quoted him saying.

Amidian, who is also deputy minister of information and communication technology, said the high target is not far-fetched and “is practical based on a research project that was conducted on the feasibility of the scheme in at least three villages.”

“Providing all rural areas with landlines was the first priority and no funds were allocated earlier for broadband connection; therefore we are pursuing the matter now as landline coverage is coming to a successful conclusion,” he pointed out.

The telecommunication networks in rural areas are based on the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and a few villages have access to GPRS (general packet radio service) with limited speed. Only eight percent of the villages have high-speed Internet at the moment; the rest will get the service based on the universal service obligation (USO) method.

 Quality Services

The goals of the USO are to promote the availability of quality services at just, reasonable, and affordable rates, increase access to advanced telecommunications services throughout a nation, and advance the availability of such services to all consumers, including those in low income, rural, insular, and high cost areas at rates that are reasonably comparable to those charged in urban areas.

Based on this method, an internet service provider (ISP) is selected in an auction and the government covers the infrastructural costs. The highest bidder, HiWeb Internet Company, the largest internet provider in Iran, will begin delivering the services after the infrastructure are built. The company will also bear the maintenance costs and the state will solely finance planning and service continuity in the regions.

Currently, 75% villages and rural areas with more than 20 households have landlines and 83% benefit from mobile phone services. Around 10,000 villages lack landline or mobile phone services as they have a population of less than three households and do not constitute a village according to the interior ministry.