Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

Crackdown on cybercafs - 06/2001


The Financial Times reports that Iranian police have shut down over 400 cybercafs, allegedly because the former state telecommunications monopoly, the PTT, is worried about losing business to the private sector.

The cafs were closed because they had no permits, although no such permits are yet available.

Cybercafs have thrived in the past year in Tehran as young people gather in them to browse the web and make cheap long-distance phone calls over the Internet. There were over 1,500 before the crackdown, and many of these had only one computer.

The Financial Times says that, in a related development, around 100 Iranian ISPs are campaigning against unfair competition from the Telecommunications Ministry. Although the government advertises itself as being reformist, ISP owners say the ministry refuses to supply more telephone lines to private ISPs.