EghtesadOnline: Internet users in Iran will enjoy higher connection speed through mobile phones and fiber optic networks (fiber-to-the-home) with speeds up to 50 times faster than what is currently available.
Barat Qanbari, deputy telecoms minister, said the ministry is focused on a broadband development plan to increase Internet speed for each user to up to 20 megabytes per second for mobile Internet and up to 100 megabytes for landline Internet subscribers in the next four years, local technology website Zoomit.ir reported.
The average mobile and fixed-broadband Internet speed in the country is currently about 4 megabytes per second, he said, noting that even the current rate is a considerable leap since launching 3G and 4G mobile Internet.
Before 3G and 4G, the maximum mobile Internet speed barely reached 512 kilobytes per second for both fixed lines and mobile, Financial Tribune reported.
The government has made concerted efforts in recent years to upgrade mobile phone networks with new technologies following the implementation of a scheme by Iran’s Telecommunications Infrastructure Company to improve accessibility of Internet for users as promised by President Hassan Rouhani on the campaign trail.
Rouhani, during his first election campaign in 2013, had promised major reforms on policies regarding getting online, noting that it is a key to economic growth.
Although the government has been under fire for not being able to fulfill all its promises, the surge in mobile Internet usage during the past four years signifies the improvement in its speed and accessibility.
The rate of mobile Internet usage has grown 42% in the past four years, with the latest data putting the number at 33 million subscribers at the end of the previous fiscal in March, an increase of 3.9 million.
According to director of Telecommunication Infrastructure Company of Iran, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi until 2013, only 0.8% of people (about 600,000) used mobile Internet services prior to the introduction of 3 and 4G services which upon entry to the market upgraded all mobile users to mobile Internet subscribers.
Reports by the Telecoms Ministry in February, showed the figures for 3G and 4G Internet users stood at a total of 27.1 million lines (34%).
Qanbari also said that the speed increase will run parallel with fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) development.
FTTH, also called “fiber to the premises” (FTTP), is the installation and use of optical fiber from a central point directly to individual buildings such as residences, apartment buildings and businesses to provide high-speed Internet access.
According to data released by a consortium of Internet service providers, there are currently 10 million active fixed-line broadband subscribers in the country, a two-fold increase since 2013, when only 5 million subscribers used landlines for Internet.
However, landline Internet speeds in Iran are still far behind many other countries with the average home Internet speed hovering around 1-2Mbs.