The government of Iraq has confirmed its commitment to enable expanded access to cost-effective satellite communications through implementation of a progressive licensing framework. The Administration’s 5-year plan, which aims to improve Internet penetration and increase e-Government programmes, was the focus of discussion during a high-level Licensing Summit held in Instanbul involving Iraq’s Ministry of Communications, the Communications & Media Commission (CMC), and the Global VSAT Forum (GVF), the international non-profit association of the satellite industry. The Summit was held on October 25th, the day preceding Iraq Telecoms 2011, when the Iraqi Administration announced its agreement to implement a satellite communications licensing approach that has been developed in co-ordination with GVF through a series of meetings held in Beirut, Baghdad, Abu Dhabi, Washington, D.C. and Istanbul.
"The CMC is pleased to co-ordinate with GVF to facilitate expanded access to satellite communications in Iraq,” said Ahmed Al-Omary, Commissioner with Iraq’s Communications & Media Commission. “We look forward to building upon this development with further improvements to our regulatory framework." In addition to Mr. Al-Omary – and leading the Summit proceedings – was His Excellency, Mohammed Tawfik Allawi, Iraq’s Minister of Communications (MoC), who was accompanied by Majeed Hameed Jassim, Director General of Iraq’s SCIS; and Abdul-Hussein Ayish, General Inspector, MoC. Representing the international satellite industry was Martin Jarrold, GVF’s Chief of International Program Development, as well as leading Members of the association, including Dr. Mohaned Juwad, Regulatory, Avanti Communications; Paul Richardson, Senior Sales Director, Comtech EF Data; Dr. Karen Badalov, Area Manager Central Asia, Eutelsat; Paul Khayat, Managing Director, Harris Caprock; Mohammed Abu Hmaidan, Senior Sales Director, Intelsat; Fysal Gill, Regional Sales Director, O3B-SES; Abbas Ghanem, Senior Sales Manager MENA region, SpeedCast; Dr. Raied Nasser, Business & Technical Director, Tigrisnet; Emil Samarah, Regional Director MENA, and Ebrahim Alkeem, Country Manager, Yahsat; and other representatives of the Iraqi communications sector.
“Light-touch licensing is increasingly recognised by the international regulatory community to be an effective means of expanding access to satellite-based services,” said Mr. Jarrold. “In this regard, Iraq’s Ministry of Communications and the CMC have made a clear case that this approach is in Iraq’s best interest.” Throughout the Summit, H.E. Mohammed Tawfik Allawi made numerous key points and confirmed important Administration five-year priorities, which set the stage for the discussions:
- The Iraqi Administration’s primary communications targets include increased Internet penetration throughout the country and expansion of e-Government networks
- A key technology to achieve these objectives is satellite communications
- The Iraqi Administration will continue its consultation with GVF regarding the “Application for Communications Earth Station License” for corporate networks, and blanket licensing for large VSAT network deployments throughout the nation
- MoC will promote delivery of Voice over IP (VoIP) services
- The Minister outlined his vision for CMC to act as a fully independent regulatory body
- Transparency of Iraq’s regulatory process is of paramount importance, and a consultation process will be implemented soon regarding Iraq’s frequency allocation table