GTT’s service to Iran raises questions about why an American Internet company with close ties to the U.S. government and intelligence community would be selling off bandwidth to a country that is still a major strategic adversary of the United States.
Despite the nuclear deal, Iran is currently providing the bulk of ground forces to crush Syrian rebels opposed to Bashar al-Assad, and is part of an emerging power axis with Russia, which has launched air strikes to keep the Syrian dictator in power and to keep Moscow’s foothold in the Middle East.
But Iran is expanding economically—and digitally—as well. And that presents an opportunity for American technology companies.
Since August 2014, when the Iran’s national telecom regulator began awarding licenses for 3G and 4G mobile phone service, subscriptions have surged, to about 20.5 million people last month, Amy Cameron, a senior analyst with BMI Research, told The Daily Beast. That’s about 27 percent of the country’s population, the majority of which is under 30 and, presumably, eager to embrace new technologies and the access to information that comes with them.