The communication sector in Kurdistan has taken a spritely turn towards development and maturation over the past decade. Telecommunications, information technology, media outlets and the Internet have all seen a considerable amount of advancement in their technology and ubiquity. In retrospect it can be argued that communication in northern Iraq had been in development since the early 1990’s uprising, from barely no communications access to a boom in mobile cellular networks, independent television and radio stations and the emergence of free media. In 2001 we had only 2 mobile providers in the region. Each had coverage in two separate regional administrators. Asiacell (Sulaymaniah) and Korek (Erbil & Duhok), now we have healthy competition in the region currently competing in all regions of the country.
The level of communication related investment indicates the strong position of the sector within the region with several mobile telecommunications in healthy competition; it has opened up the demand creating better communication services. Due to the regions safety local telecommunications providers have been able to hire foreign experts, companies such as Asiacell & Korek have foreign managers, advisors and directors this has been key in the training and development of the local workforce.
This industry includes companies primarily engaged in operating, maintaining, or providing access to services or technologies enabling the transmission of voice, data, text, sound, and video using wireless telecommunications networks. It also includes operations engaged primarily in purchasing access and capacity from network owners and operators, and reselling telecommunications services to businesses and households. Cellular communications are a large component of this industry. In addition, information technology is now a motor of economic development in modern societies and Kurdistan is going to be first region in Iraq that has an outlined 5 year IT strategy, which will enhance the future of Kurdistan. Early adoption of an IT strategy is at the heart of the KRG efforts. Kurdistan is almost a Greenfield site. Fresh Platform to start making real developments in IT infrastructure. Making a democratic ‘ e-governance’ a reality, from ministerial laptops to disadvantaged citizens.
Education has been improving for this generation. The demographic demonstrates a perfect picture for potential telecommunication and internet based investment.
Currently there are issues with distributing net access across Kurdistan, as the land is mountainous, WiMax technology is breaking this barrier however the lack of wired communications between the region and Internet backbones remains a problem with the right investment this issue can also be solved to provide broadband speed internet access across the region.
KRG believes that the strategic use of IT is part of our core economic development initiatives. We are relying on established best practices and international know-how and experience, while creating a local institutional capacity to ensure the sustainability of our efforts. Helps promote “good governance goals, empowering our citizens”.
Transportation infrastructure along road and air links is well developed. Various plans to achieve these improvements are at an advanced stage.
The government developed a national transport strategy to upgrade the country’s infrastructure, and enable Kurdistan to capitalize on its natural geographical advantages.
The Kurdistan Region’s Airports:
Erbil International Airport (EIA)
The airport just went under major construction in the region of $400 million were spent, the new airport has 16 gates and is capable of carrying the worlds largest aircrafts.
It is advised that passengers arrive at Erbil International Airport at least 2.5 hours before their departures to allow sufficient time to board the shuttle bus and go through the security check point to the departure terminal.
Sulaymaniah International Airport (SIA)
A smaller airport but has constant flights to international destination, airport is used for cargo aswell as individuals.
Please note that airline routes and schedules to Kurdistan are expanding. Please confirm details of flights directly with the operator as they may be subject to change.
Roads & Highways
The region has a developing road connection that connects all over the country, connecting Kurdistan’s with all its neighboring regions. It has functioning roads between all cities and town but is on the path to creating extensive Inner city road systems that create easy flowing traffic, such as the 100m road in Erbil and other highways in respective cities.
Currently construction has begins to create two sided roads between all major towns and cities such as the road between Erbil and Koya, to create better transportation and networking routes for companies and individuals.