The Silk Road, an ancient network of trade routes, facilitated the exchange of goods and ideas between the East and West for more than 1,500 years. Now a leading Iraqi fiber optic provider has launched its own 21st century version – The Silk Route Transit Network.
Based in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq, iQ Group launched the ambitious project in 2010 to build a fiber optic infrastructure spread over 3,000 kilometers across Iraq. The objective was to convert a post-conflict nation, still grappling with significant security and political challenges, into a major network hub for the Middle East. Through this hub, Iraq would link all the neighboring countries into the global fiber optic network and act as the most direct route between Europe and Asia.
Now complete, this multi-layer fiber optic network has delivered on its promise and cements Iraq as a major network hub in the region. Its strategic and deliberate positioning bypasses the infamous “Red Sea Bottleneck”, the vulnerable checkpoint at the intersection of the Mediterranean Sea and the Suez Canal, and offers superior options for carriers and businesses to cope with future internet traffic growth.
These advances are accomplished by the construction of six cable landing stations across Iraq including Al-Faw Station, which offers connectivity through the Persian Gulf, Safwan Station through Kuwait, Arar Station through the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Munthiriyah through the Islamic Republic of Iran, Derebun Station through Turkey, and Rabia Station, which offers connectivity through Syria via Turkey.
iQ’s industry-leading technicians note that combining submarine networks with terrestrial routes significantly reduces communication delays to as little as 70 milliseconds. This improved connectivity enhances the speed and efficiency of data communication between Europe and Asia, with sizable benefits for businesses, individuals, and the overall digital ecosystem.
Asoz Rashid, the visionary CEO behind these pioneering efforts, has elevated iQ Group to the forefront of Iraq’s tech industry and is determined to turn Iraq into one of the world’s most digitally advanced countries. In his words:
“Many of Iraq’s problems can be solved through technology,” he says. “The Silk Route Transit Network connects Iraq with the digital world as the project functions as a transit path for the internet. Over time, this will elevate Iraq to the same rank as the most digitally advanced countries.”
Rashid firmly believes that the Silk Route Transit Network will further contribute to the development of Iraq’s industrial, retail, and service sectors, providing the backbone for a vast network of projects that require fiber optic access, e-governance, and data centers. These projects will also help broaden and diversify the national economy away from an excessive dependence on its petroleum industry, which currently accounts for over 90 percent of government revenue, as well as create exciting job opportunities for young, forward-looking Iraqis seeking a future in a booming private sector.
“The Silk Route Transit Network has already helped usher multiple job opportunities for young Iraqis either directly related by working on the project itself, or indirectly by preparing the ground for new kinds of businesses to thrive and enabling Iraq to keep pace with developments around the globe,” says Rashid.
iQ Group will continue to grow and expand as the years go on and its vision will remain unchanged – to benefit its international customer base and its clients. More importantly, iQ Group will fulfill its social responsibility to Iraq, its citizens, and especially the next generation of young entrepreneurs seeking to fulfill the promises created by embracing and leveraging advanced technologies.
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