Iranian ISPs defy regulator ban on high-speed internet

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By  Published  October 27, 2006

Iranian internet service providers (ISPs) are defying a ban from their government on the sale of high-speed internet access in the country.

ISPs were sent a letter this month from Iran’s telecom regulator, telling them they were not allowed to sell asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) services with a speed higher than 128 Kbytes/s.

The ban, which follows an earlier ban on satellite dishes in the country, was temporary, the letter said, and would be discussed in a later meeting with providers.

However, the CEO of an ISP contacted by IT Weekly last week said that his company would continue selling higher bandwidth to those of its customers that requested it.

“We received the letter from them to stop selling the bandwidth but my company will continue to sell the bandwidth because we think that is not something that they really want to or can do,” said Arash Naderpour, CEO of internet service provider CTEL Kish.

“The limitation, they cannot force us to stop it, they cannot check each one of the ports in the country.”

Naderpour added that he expected most other service providers would also do the same, and that people requiring higher bandwidth would, in any case, still be able to obtain it.

The letter did not provide any explanation for the ban on higher internet speeds but it has been widely interpreted as a move by the government to restrict the influence of Western culture in Iran and has attracted criticism from MPs and academics.

However, Naderpour said he believed the ban was more likely due to infrastructure problems than to political reasons.

“Why I say this is because in the past few months we requested high bandwidth and more new facilities from them and we are still waiting and did not receive any response from them,” he stated.

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