Iran’s Information and Communications Technology minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi has ordered mobile operators in the country to give 20 gigabytes of free internet to teachers who are teaching students online amid the spread of the coronavirus.
ICT Deputy Minister Hossein Fallah Joshaqani says this bonus pack is given within the framework of the ministry’s social responsibilities.
Here is IRNA’s interview with Joshaqani who explained the details of this pack:
Q: How were the teachers identified for this plan?
A: Based on an order by the ICT minister, it was decided to give 20 gigabytes of free internet to teachers. They enrolled in a portal that was specialized to this purpose. By 3 pm Tuesday, about 600,000 teachers signed up to receive the gift package.
Q: How much was the share of each operator?
A: Hamrah-e Aval, Irancell and Rightel will give services to 440,000, 133,000 and 11,000 teachers respectively.
Q: When were the packages activated?
A: Rightel activated the packages since Tuesday, and by 1pm Wednesday, Hamrah-e Aval and Irancell activated the service as well.
Q: Can this amount of internet be enough for teachers’ virtual training and video upload for three months?
A: According to our estimates, this amount is enough. Of course, we hope the Coronavirus will soon be eradicated in the country and students attend classes again. We hope we don’t need to renew this package.
Q: Given the internet package available to teachers, other jobs that require the internet may expect the ministry to provide free internet for them as well. Is the ministry obliged to provide this service for everyone?
A: Providing free internet access is not the responsibility of the ICT ministry. Every person, organisation, and ministry must do its share to overcome the crisis. Free internet packages were provided to teachers while 100 gigabytes of free internet was provided to home users based on the social responsibility of the operators.
Q: The Internet is our vital infrastructure these days. Shopping, training, entertainment and teleworking in the current critical state is a top priority for any country. As the frequency capacity of the operators is saturated, is it not the time for the IRIB to release its available frequency bands?
A: Good point. Our frequency supply is declining, as the frequency bandwidth of the cellular network is saturated and we have to move to 5G in the near future. Therefore, the need to use frequency bands is increasing. This should be decided at the macro level and we hope that the efforts will work.