Iraqi's taste internet freedom with a little indigestion

An article from Wired this week describes the recent adoption of instant messaging by people in areas of Iraq fortunate enough to have power and Internet service.

However, the addition of broadband features such as voice chat are bringing cheap communications, and bandwidth problems, to the country.

The basis of the problem is one of economics. In Baghdad today, an Internet café is likely to charge about US$1 per hour for connection to the net. However, a telephone call, if you can get through to your international destination, will run you around US$1 per minute. Those who have seen the difference and have access to services like MSN's new voice chat feature, are using the service to get the most talk for their buck.

Beyond the use of the internet, a few cellular operators have cropped up (see this article from providing basic and long distance services to those who have GSM phones in Iraq.

Further, it is reported that the Iraqi national telephone company will be introducing a pre-paid long distance card soon.