Researcher Shatha Khalil *
Translated by : mudhaffar al-kusairi
In the era of globalization, the internet in the world has become the lifeblood in all areas. The simplest places, from kindergartens to all institutions of the state militarily, socio-economically, agricultural are almost not free from the Internet.
In Iraq, the use of the Internet began in 2000, but was not widespread under the regime before 2003, as it was limited to the use of employees of the security services and intelligence and some graduate students after obtaining a certain legal approval, where statistics indicate in 2000 to the presence of 12,500 users, but after 2003 it was expanding very rapidly throughout Iraq, but this service was characterized, provided to the Iraqi citizen, by a poor and expensive prices.
The Iraqi Digital Media Center has revealed shocking facts about the Internet file in Iraq.
According to research conducted by the Center’s specialists in the field of communications and the Internet, most of what is provided for citizens is” false Internet ” according to measurements of processing and operation, and it is sold to them more than 50 times from its real price according to the following statistics :
• Iraq imports the Internet at the price of (500 – 775) dollars for one STM, equivalent to (3 – 6) dollars per megabyte one, depending on the type of port that is imported through whether the sea or land.
• These prices are added to the wages of transportation inside Iraq for delivery to al-Mamoun exchange with a value of approximately $ 5000 per STM ($ 48 per megabyte) which is called international transport, as well as $ 1500 to transport to the Iraqi provinces ($ 10 per megawatt) which is called Local transport.
• The value of importing the Internet and transferring it to citizens with all costs up to ($ 41 per megabyte) while sold to citizens at least 50 times more than its real price if provided according to the standards of the rest of the world.
The Internet is not only overpriced, but companies are manipulating the Internet mechanisms that are provided for citizens. They install special devices that store Internet data such as video, pictures and various sites that are used in Iraq and thus its value become local, but they are sold at an international price.
• Experts revealed that the Cash devices of the YouTube on the site of the so-called (GGC) and cash devices of the pictures and videos on the site of Facebook which are so-called (FNA) and other cashes used to store the content of porn sites or products of Apple, they all shift the Internet capacity used by the international that It costs $ 48 per megabyte to the local, which costs only $ 10, and sometimes does not cost companies any money if they have cash devices inside Iraqi provinces.
Capacity manipulation of the Internet is a legal breach in the processing and broadcasting mechanisms of citizens.
The team stressed that the majority of the Internet access to the citizen with these mechanisms, but the imaginary and unreal Internet l as described.
The group said the price per megabyte sold to citizens and businesses ranged from $ 140 to $ 250, all of which are very unrealistic.
The specialists considered that the Iraqi Ministry of Communications has thus increased the value of the MIGA more than 11 times, and then companies with different cashes come , and here can not calculate the amounts that these companies will earn as net profits because of the great manipulation and integration of the real with the non-real.
The team pointed out that all the Internet companies in Iraq do not provide pure Internet or so called ( Dedicated), and that all lines are linked to the cash equipment , for example, if a citizen demanded from a major Internet company to buy one megabyte, the company will divide the demand into Google product data requests (including YouTube), and others related to the data and files of other sites , thus the citizen will only get a little from the real Internet .
The adoption of the Cash facilitates for the companies to process the Internet to surf porn sites in Iraq indirectly, by inserting most requests for movies and pornographic images in private cash machines, and then when ordering these films or images by any other user , they will be treated as a local request and do not cost the companies any additional amounts, especially those that put the cashes in their branches in the Iraqi provinces, but that some of these companies have headquarters of data in other districts outside the provincial centers.
However, a circumvent and disrupt of the network has continued since 2003 and to this day, The only affected is the Iraqi citizen who pays large sums of money for a very poor service, with the increasing statements of officials and official data to solve this dangerous problem .
Circumvent of Companies at Internet Time
The Internet companies resort to another trick that seeks to deceive the ordinary citizen, by dividing the times granted by the Internet, for example, some companies are to find two types of speed according to time, from 1 am to 9 am, a speed is open to the user, and then be determined after that , and in the evening the service is highly reduced because everyone will share the capacity that is already low.
In the same context, companies deprive the citizen even of the reductions approved by the Iraqi Ministry of Communications in the prices of the Internet.
As all reductions on the Internet capacity are not useful to the citizen , but the owners of companies are taking advantage from it , that the reduction conducted by the ministry in the mid-last year , which reduced of the value of the local transport by 50%, went to the benefit of the companies, and the prices for the citizen didn’t see any decline, but the companies since that time raised the most-used subscription price from $ 12 to $ 13.5 for agents, to be sold to citizens for 35,000 Iraqi dinars.
The other reduction announced by the Ministry of Communications was 25% did not benefit the citizen, but benefited only companies.
Internet prices in Iraq are the most expensive for Internet prices between the Arab countries and neighboring countries, as the monthly subscription fee is 300 thousand Iraqi dinars (equivalent to 250 US dollars) per megabyte, while the value of the service provided by mobile communication companies is 6,000 Iraqi dinars( Equivalent to $ 5) per megabyte.
The specialists in telecom companies said that the exploitation of the companies exploiting the Iraqi citizen is circumventing the citizen’s inability to identify the speed of the Internet, as these companies give priority and high speeds to sites measuring the speed of the Internet, and thus show a high result in the tests sometimes up to more than 15 megabytes, while real speed is a very small fraction of the result of this test.
The specialists suggest that the Ministry of Communications of Iraq to develop new controls to reduce fraud and exploitation of citizens and improve the quality of service of those companies and determine the prices of cards that sell to users (Per User), to be appropriate to the cost , in addition to a specific profit margin, and it is enough for the greedy, and otherwise their contracts will be abolished .
The smuggling of the Internet, which is discovered by the governmental control agencies from time to time, proved that the only victim is the citizen and not companies, and smuggling is through the northern ports, but it expanded to include the southern ports, as companies will not be forced to pay the state amounts of money because of the introduction of capacity to Iraq, but it is deliberately to be introduced via optical cable to Kurdistan or Basra or Diyala, and then smuggled through wireless communications to other areas, the company, which was spending one hundred thousand dollars on smuggled resources, now do not pay anything, and the price is also not reduced but it has saved what was spent in the past on the smuggled capacities .
The Iraqi government should pay attention to this dangerous file because it poses a real problem for the Iraqi citizen in the first place, and the great waste of its financial revenues from the national wealth that can be invested in economic development rationally, especially that the country is in dire need of economic renaissance.
Economic Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies