Stopping High-Speed Internet Aims At Private Capital
A few days ago Ahmadinejad's government announced the ban of high speed access for most Internet users in Iran and this action was pretended to be another attempt for filtering the Internet in Iran. Although this excuse was worse than the guilt itself but the real reason for this step of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI), in my opinion, is not filtering and this decision is another major attack of Ahmadinejad's government against the private capital in Iran. But let me first explain why the goal of this new endeavor is not filtering.
In the past, I have explained enough about filtering and just two weeks ago I published a detailed article about filtering [http://www.ghandchi.com/452-filtershekan2Eng.htm]. Filtering is basically a way to block the Internet for the ordinary users because the expert users will always be able to find ways to access the Internet, the same way that banning newspapers is a way to stop the flow of information to ordinary people and the experts will always get the news in myriad of ways as in the height of dictatorship in Nazi Germany or in Stalinist Russia, the informed and expert individuals, always had the latest news in those societies.
But the overwhelming majority of Internet users for a long time not just in Iran, but everywhere in the world, because of cost, will be the low speed Internet users and not high speed users. Therefore since the aim of filtering is the ordinary people, Internet censorship for people will be focused on the users who use low speed Internet and not those who are benefiting from the high speed Internet.
If anybody things that the high speed Internet users can by creating servers provide content to others and cutting them from high speed Internet this way will prevent them of doing it, this also cannot be the reason for the regime's decision. Because those who are experts and can do such setups will not go away by this action of the government. And if the goal is to prevent them from making Internet content available via servers inside Iran to ordinary users, again filtering those sites like all other sites of inside or outside Iran by the current method will be done because the experts cannot be stopped by such methods, as one can see that all kinds of videos are easily found in the black market in Iran and are distributed everywhere inside Iran. In fact, the filtering experts of the regime by their own admission filter 10 million sites and have done enormous investment for all this work, and they know all these things and surely with the knowledge of all this, such a proposal for stopping the high speed internet to the government as a measure for filtering could not have come from them.
If anybody thinks that this action can prevent watching the TV or video programs on the Internet where the overwhelming majority are using the low speed lines to download and watch offline and do not watch video content online and the reason is again cost and this is even true about the majority of Internet users in the U.S. too let alone in Iran where the majority is still using the usual phone lines (POTS) which is very cheap.
Then why has Islamic Republic executed this ban and has even made the excuse of filtering for it which is an excuse worse than the guilt itself as if their goal is more filtering? I see explain the reason for this issue in the following lines.
Basically in the telecom industry only two sectors are profitable at the present, namely high speed Internet and wireless networks. Many private companies that did not have presence in these two sectors died out in the last few years. In fact, the last five years were the hardest period for telecom industry worldwide and many companies that were in this sector with the diminishing of the income of telephone lines from "voice" which are also used for low speed Internet, went bankrupt. Even Information Technology (IT) in the recent years because of the expectation of geometric growth of the dotcom companies in Internet Commerce which did *not* materialize, was intensely deteriorated, and many international companies in that arena and also the IT employees of other companies lost their jobs. In the most advanced information economies of the world like the U.S. and Europe this trend is still continuing and in reality as far as the professions of future in these countries, there is not much attention to the Internet anymore and most of the focus is on areas like nanotechnology [http://www.ghandchi.com/306-NanoEng.htm] and genetics. I got distracted, let me return to the topic of discussion here.
The above trend has just started in Iran. Meaning that the most profitable sector of Iran's information economy is currently in the high speed Internet and with the banning of it, the private companies that are active in this sector and also the private companies that use their service to engage in Internet commerce, will go bankrupt. Of course later with new regulations the government's own telecom or some of the Islamic foundations will take charge of the high speed internet and will take ownership of this profitable sector of the telecommunication market and will sell the same high speed Internet but with new regulations.
This way in one more important economic sector of Iran, the Ahmadinejad's government will destroy the private capital and will usurp the income of it passing it to the government or the virtual government institutions of the bonyAds (Islamic foundations). In my opinion this is the goal of IRI's stopping of high speed Internet for ordinary users of Iran.
With the passing of over a year of life of Ahmadinejad's government, Islamic Republic is more and more hitting the private sector. With the appointment of security authorities to government ministries and offices and with passing of various institutions like the organization of planning to them, these anti-private sector actions by IRI are executed step by step. The same way that fighting modernism by the regime in the last 27 years has been done step by step. This government just like the whole of IRI cannot treat a society like Iran that has had an advanced past like the Uganda of Idi Amin and is forced to do these actions with ebb and flo.
Islamic Republic all these years has kept two parallel governments. For example, from the beginning Khomeini along with taking over the army, also created the Sephh Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guards). Government of Ahmadinejad also in its first months of coming to power bestowed huge financial contracts to the Revolutionary Guards to provide it with financial strength independent of the official state. In my opinion the beatings of the private sector for the goal of strengthening the virtual and formal government will continue by Ahmadinejad's government and we should expect to see the bestowing of more lucrative sectors of the Iranian economy to the formal and virtual state, and specially with the enforcement of sanctions on Iran the regime will not need to invent excuses like filtering and can use the national and security excuses to take over the ownership of areas that are still under the control of private capital.
Hoping for formation of United Secular Front in Iran
Sam Ghandchi, Editor/Publisher