By now everyone probably knows that URUKLINK.NET is or was the only or primary
ISP in Iraq.

I came across this [1] and I thought that it was interesting. There's two
items in the data -- which states are in which "tier" for POTS penetration,
and where has POTS growth been negative. I've picked on the Iraq-adjacent
states. Another source [2] is Iraq-specific w.r.t. telecommunications, and
has a slightly higher penetration rate, prior to 1991.

The Soviet Army withdrew from Afganistan on 02.15.89. Sanctions were imposed
on Iraq in 1990.

The numbers are CPE-to-PSTN w/dedicated port, per 100 persons.

.af 1988 0.20 1998 0.00 (last date data available)
.jo 1989 7.22 1998 8.34 (9.25 in 2000)
.iq 1988 4.00 1998 3.10 (last date data available)
.ir 1988 4.05 1998 11.18 (14.90 in 2000)
.kw 1988 18.92 1998 23.59 (24.40 in 2000)
.sy 1988 5.81 1998 9.38 (10.35 in 2000)
.tr 1988 11.70 1998 25.45 (28.00 in 2000)


[1] http://www.sesrtcic.org/cgi-local/indquery.pl?indcode=GRPHN
[2] http://www.un.org/Depts/oip/dp/dp5/telecomexecsum.html

Having just returned from Kabul, where PCH has been assisting the
Afghan Ministry of Communications, I can tell you that things are bad, but
not nearly as bad as those numbers would suggest... Those numbers are for
copper (of which there are about 33,000 subscribers in Kabul) and don't
include mobile phones, which about double that. In addition, a second GSM
provider has been licensed, and is starting their build-out, and the
second provider is funded by the Aga Kahn and will probably be providing
very low-cost service. So things there are looking up.

There's a bit of a tussle right now between overseas bell-heads who are
trying to sell old SS7 switches into Afghanistan and are lobbying the
MoC to outlaw VoIP and define the Internet as an application that runs
over 64K switched channels, versus the younger guys in the MoC who are
trying to define a relatively progressive telecoms regulatory environment
which would allow domestic Afghan telecoms investment, more like the New
Zealand regulatory scheme. In such an environment, of course, voice is an
application which runs on top of the Internet. :slight_smile:

So it's been interesting working with them. I just hope they don't
succumb to the bribes and threats the bell-heads are plying them with.