The first Internet Service Provider (ISP) in Iraq has recently commenced providing services to the public, in exchange for symbolic fees. Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper reports that the Internet office at Baghdad University has been granted permission to provide this service to the public, following a prolonged delay due to technical and security problems. Baghdad University, along with its various faculties, is the first local university to receive permission from the Iraqi government to provide Internet services.
In the near future, Internet use is expected to profilerate through Iraqi society, especially in Baghdad. Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper reports that the Iraqi government is soon expected to approve applications to open 200 Internet cafes, most of which will be located in Baghdad.
Still, the primary obstacle impeding Internet use in Iraq is the country’s deficient telecomminications network. The Iraqi Ministry of Transportation and Communication has asserted that the local telecommunication network is suffering from severe problems, following the 10-year international economic embargo. The Iraqi telecommunication network’s restructuring plans were never accomplished due to these sanctions. Although the United Nations has allocated nearly $100 million to re-build this network, it requires an investment of more than $2 billion to operate adequately.