EghtesadOnline: Ambitious telecom projects have been launched in the western province of Kurdestan by Information and Communications Technology Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi, during a visit to Sanandaj on Wednesday.
With an investment of 2.2 trillion rials ($16 million), the projects aim to boost connectivity in the mountainous province, the ministry's website reported.
To increase 4G coverage in the province, 888 communication centers were launched and 152 kilometers of intra-provincial optical fiber cables have been laid.
The launch of new communication centers will expand landline telephony services in 62 villages, according to Financial Tribune.
As of Wednesday, the country’s two main mobile operators—MTN-Irancell and Mobile Telecommunications Company of Iran—started sharing their infrastructure. This can significantly increase access to telecom services in underdeveloped areas.
Affiliated to the ICT Ministry, the Post Bank of Iran opened branches in 42 villages of Kurdestan. In addition to offering conventional banking services, people can visit the branches of Post Bank for getting access to e-government services.
Network and communication equipment were also renovated to expand its operational reach.
Speaking in a meeting with provincial officials, Jahromi said all the cities of Kurdestan currently enjoy 4G Internet coverage and 890 villages have been connected to the mobile network.
"Developing mobile network services in 500 more villages in the province by the end of the current fiscal year [March 2020] is high on the agenda," he stressed.
The minister noted that another 200-kilometer fiber optic line is being installed and will become operational within months.
Jahromi explained that poor communication coverage in the province is mostly due to the special topographic features of Kurdestan.
“In flat lands, a single communication tower can provide 10 villages with mobile coverage. The work is harder in mountainous areas like Kurdestan,” he said.
“Each village in mountainous areas of the province needs a separate telecom tower for extending network and data coverage to villagers.”
According to Jahromi, Irancell is currently working on a new project to establish 100 telecommunications towers throughout the rural areas of the province.
Of the total 1.6 million population in Kurdestan, 66% are urban residents and 34% or over half a million people live in villages.
Jahromi in Mazandaran
Earlier in the week, Jahromi visited Mazandaran Province to survey damages caused by recent floods to the province’s communication infrastructure and to review reconstruction projects.
Devastating floods hit several Iranian provinces, including Mazandaran in March and April, which claimed dozens of lives. The floods inflicted extensive damage on Iran’s telecom infrastructure.
Communication infrastructure sustained damages worth 15 trillion rials ($113 million) from the floods sweeping across many Iranian provinces during and after the Norouz holidays (March 21-April 20).
Jahromi told ISNA at the time, “Heavy rains and flooding caused 15 trillion rials ($111 million) in damages to the telecom infrastructure. Lorestan Province was the hardest hit.”
Since then, numerous reconstruction projects have been launched throughout Iran to get the telecom infrastructure going.