EghtesadOnline: Iranian government is enhancing Internet connectivity and telecom services in rural areas to offer villagers a significant change in lifestyle and encourage their stay in remote areas.
Nearly 600 villages in the southern province of Fars have recently been equipped with high-speed Internet services as part of President Hassan Rouhani’s agenda.
To deliver on previous promises, ICT Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi visited Fars Province on July 11 to take stock of mobile phone and Internet coverage in the region, reported the ministry’s website.
On his two-day trip to the sunny southwestern province, Azari-Jahromi seemed satisfied with the progress made in the ICT sector, as nearly 600 villages can now access third and fourth generation of broadband cellular network technology, Financial Tribune reported.
During a previous visit to the province in Norouz (Iranian New Year holidays in March), the minister was baffled by the low Internet coverage in the region and pledged to increase residents’ connectivity by the end of the first quarter of the Iranian year, which started on March 21.
The number of villages equipped with 3G and 4G Internet exceeds the figure promised by the minister in Norouz.
Before the recent improvement, 576 villages had access to high-speed Internet. The ministry’s next agenda is to provide 1,195 more rural areas in Fars with the broadband connection.
According to statistics detailed by the minister, Fars has over 4,000 villages with 2,300 of them housing more than 20 households.
As part of the government’s agenda, the ICT Ministry has initiated a scheme under which every village across the country with over 20 households will have access to modern communications networks in the coming years.
The minister had previously announced that 26,000 villages across the country have access to Internet services.
The young minister is aiming to carry out the projects by creating fiber-optic networks in such areas since the application of copper wires for expansion of communications in underdeveloped areas does not have any economic or technological justification.
Furthermore, a database has been established which contains data about each village’s population and connectivity status.
Based on the latest National Population and Housing Census conducted in 2016, out of the nearly 80 million Iranians, 20,730,625 people or 6,070,547 households live in rural areas.
Fars is not the only province that during recent months has been visited by Azari-Jahromi to oversee communications projects’ progress in.
The minister paid a visit to the northern province of Gilan in mid-May to evaluate the communications infrastructure. Pointing to the 50 WiFi hotspots in the province, Azari-Jahromi promised the hotspots to triple to 150 points by the end of September.
The ministry believes the measure to some extent will be the answer to the province’s floating population. The area is a hot tourist spot in Iran.
Furthermore, the official spent time in Mazandaran Province, located along the southern coast of the Caspian Sea, examine the development in the communications infrastructure.
According to him, the government and private firms have invested 3.8 trillion rials ($90.7 million) in Mazandaran to provide northerners with the speedy connection to the World Wide Web.
During a visit to the southeastern province of Kerman, Azari-Jahromi told reporters that more than 2,400 villages in the region were deprived of access to high-speed Internet six months ago. “Currently all areas in the province have cellular coverage.”
A report released by the International Telecommunication Union published in November 2017 indicated that Iran is showing significant improvement in every aspect of the ICT sector. The ITU said Iran is “the most dynamic country” in terms of ICT development in Asia.