Monday, October 02, 2006

Internet thrives in post Saddam Iraq

Internet thrives in post Saddam Iraq

Moving Baghdad into cyberspace has been a feat of free- market ingenuity.

Perhaps the hardest part is electricity. Much of Baghdad had electricity for 12-18 hours a day before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Most neighborhoods now get electricity from the grid for just four to six hours a day.

It means ordinary people have to know their ohms from their amperes and their megabits from their kilohertz.

Most middle class households now have cables snaking down the street to a neighborhood "generator man" who gives them diesel-generated power for a monthly fee of about $10 per ampere. Six or seven amperes are usually enough for a computer, a TV and a fridge. An air conditioner costs more.

A neighborhood Internet cafe will sell a subscription for wireless Wi-Fi access to its satellite broadband hookup for about $40 a month.

Most Iraqis have only experienced the Internet since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

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