EghtesadOnline: The first phase of a major Fiber to the X (FTTX) project was inaugurated in Karaj, the capital of Alborz Province, west of Tehran, with an investment of 580 billion rials ($13.8 million) by the state-backed landline operator Iranian Net Communication and Electronic Services.
The project will enhance public access to communications and increase the province’s average Internet speed, the ICT Ministry’s website reported.
Fiber to the X or fiber in the loop is a generic term for any broadband network architecture using optical fiber to provide all or part of the local loop used for the final leg of the telecommunications networks that deliver services to end-users.
Under the project, launched in April 2015, Iranian Net has undertaken to install 200 km of fiber optic cables in Karaj and eventually offer services to over 132,000 users through the network, according to Financial Tribune.
Through the first phase of the project which was inaugurated late on Wednesday, Iranian Net now can offer services via its optical fiber network to 20,000 subscribers.
Iranian Net’s CEO Mohsen Baqeri, Alborz Governor Mohammad Ali Najafi and Director of Telecommunication Infrastructure Company of Iran Sadeq Abbasi were present at the inauguration ceremony.
TIC is government’s leading agency in implementation of communications infrastructure projects which holds a 20% stake in Iranian Net.
During the inauguration ceremony, Abbasi said, “Some four years ago when third generation mobile Internet technology was introduced in Iran, the 3G services had only 500,000 subscribers.”
A year later, not only the fourth generation of broadband cellular network technology was launched in Iran, “but also over 20 million Iranians were using 3G and 4G services. Hopefully, the fiber optic network will observe a similar boom,” he added.
Iranian Net is not the only firm which is laying fiber optic cables in Iran and TIC conducts similar projects. Abbasi says TIC has laid over 65,000 km of fiber optic cables across the country connecting cities and provinces.
As per the sixth five-year development plan (2016-21), which outlines government strategies, at least 80% of Iranian households are to have access to Internet services with the minimum speed of 20 Mbps.
Abbasi points out that the goal is unattainable without expansion of the fiber optic network since through copper wires the maximum Internet speed that can be offered is 16 Mbps.
Earlier on occasion of World Information Society Day, celebrated on May 17, TIC launched a project named Noor2 (Noor means light in Persian) through which 12,000 km of fiber optic cables will be laid in Iran. According to Abbasi, some seven trillion rials ($166 million) have been invested in the project.
Later on Saturday, Abbasi announced that henceforth the TIC is open to lease out the dark fiber it owns. A dark fiber is an unused optical fiber, available for employment. He did not elaborate on the conditions for such collaborations. However, the interested firms can contact TIC.
High Potential Province
The Alborz governor was also present during the event, saying that the required groundwork for the expansion of Iranian Net’s fiber-optic network has been laid and the next phases of the project will be launched soon.
Najafi pointed to the technology-related businesses and academic entities located in the province and said development of the communications infrastructure is a must for Alborz.
In addition to prominent higher education centers like Kharazmi University, the province houses Payam Special Economic Zone which has been tapped by the ICT Ministry for development of a national technology and startup center.
Furthermore, according to statistics released by Iran’s largest Android app market, Cafe Bazaar some 3.1% of Iranian app developers’ total turnover is generated by firms located in Alborz.
As fiber optic cables are able to carry much more data than copper cables, especially over long distances, copper telephone networks built in the 20th century are being replaced by fiber around the globe.
The Iranian government and telecom firms have also grasped the need to overhaul the country’s aging communications infrastructure and the Iranian Net and TIC projects are culminations of such efforts.