Saturday, December 17, 2005

Internet in Iraq

In Iraq, connecting to the internet is occasionally difficult. We work from a wireless connection accessible throughout the office. Since there are no DSL lines in Iraq, the signal is transferred by satellite. As I understand it, a receiver sitting on our roof transmits the information to an internet hub. Many advertisements are in German. I think that our transmission, after leaving Iraq, is transferred into space and arrives somewhere in Germany. Though this is circuitous, the connection is, most of the time, very fast.

It seems that every international organization working in Iraq uses the same method. When I look at other wireless connections from our office, I see signals from Dyncorp, IFES, and others.

This is a lucrative business. I don’t know what company we use or their rate, but I heard JPI charges over $5,000 a month for the connection. Their advertisements are found in the seat pockets of Airserv flights. Most of our Iraqi staff have internet at home. Their connections are dialup.

The internet connection was inoperable for most of yesterday, following a fierce storm the night before last. It started thundering at around 2 AM, followed by torrential rain, and stopped a little before dawn. I was awoken several times. Our DCOP who has worked in Iraq for several years said he has never seen anything like it. The connection has not been restored, and I am working off an errant signal emanating somewhere in the compound. The orange trees, which are abundant in the compound, also bore the brunt of the storm. There are now oranges strewn about, but unfortunately they're not ripe yet.


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