Iranian govt takes control of internet infrastructure

The Iranian government has adopted a new legislation that gives it the power to renationalize physical hardware and transmission equipment that make the country’s internet services infrastructure.

“The government of Iran is taking full control of the country’s fixed internet infrastructure by hiving off the network assets of incumbent telco Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI),” The Iranian state-owned news agency PressTV said.

The country’s telecoms minister, Mohammad Javad Azari, told local media that the legislation adopted by the Cabinet would pave the way for authorities to seize control of all equipment used for delivering fixed data services.

It is worth mentioning that Iran had previously privatized the control and use of fixed fiber internet infrastructures after divesting its shares in the Telecommunications Company of Iran (TCI) earlier in 2009.

However, regulators and concerned government agencies have continuously accused TCI of monopolizing the telecoms sector in Iran, especially in terms of fiber and physical infrastructure.

Many have pointed the finger toward TCI and its affiliates’ inability to secure proper investments and funding to revamp and expand fixed internet services in Iran, especially since its main users would prefer access to faster data bundles offered by telcos.  

“The bill adopted by the government on Sunday would take back control of major hardware including channels, ducts and distribution equipment that are currently monopolized by the TCI,” Azari was quoted as saying.

He added that the government had been planning for a renationalization effort over fixed internet infrastructure in Iran for the past three years; highlighting that TCI “had occupied the infrastructure for years and had created a major obstacle for increasing the access of the Iranian households to faster internet services.”

The bill adopted by the Iranian Cabinet will transform into law when approved and passed by the Iranian parliament as well as the country’s Guardians Council, which vets all parliamentary legislations.