Iraq-based internet conglomerate iQ Group was founded in 2005 with a mission to bring unparalleled network access and speed to Middle East nations. 19 years down the line, iQ, with its full range of high-speed internet services, has emerged as one of the leading internet providers in the country. The group has beefed up Iraq’s connectivity game by providing state-of-the-art network infrastructure to various government institutions.
As a pioneer of fibre access transmission in Iraq, iQ’s network infrastructure has emerged as a vital asset for the nation, benefiting Iraq’s government and major telecommunication companies. Mobile operators and LTE (Long-Term Evolution) carriers cannot provide 4G/5G internet efficiently without relying on fibre-optic infrastructure. Iraq’s two biggest GSM operators, with a user base easily exceeding 20 million users, rely on iQ’s fibre backbone to ensure their LTE connectivity.
Likewise, the Kurdistan region of Iraq’s two biggest LTE carriers, which have a combined user pool of nearly 3 million users, also relies on iQ’s network infrastructure. Since 2020, the company has worked strenuously to transform itself into a diverse group working in a range of industries like telecommunications, technology, and manufacturing.
iQ offers numerous FTTH (Fibre-to-the-home) high bandwidth fibre optic connectivity packages to their customers, exclusively in the Sulaymaniyah province. Its quality and speeds are comparable to that of any major technological capital of the world.
“This evolution ultimately represents the ability to utilize the collective expertise and resources of various sectors to provide a more comprehensive service to customers. Whether to stream a video, take their start-up to the next level, or set up the next tech breakthrough, iQ’s technology services have enabled millions of Iraqis, and hopefully, millions across the region, to connect with the rest of the world and step into the future,” the conglomerate told the International Finance.
Tracking iQ’s Expansion
The telecommunication behemoth, apart from remaining a driving force in Iraq’s economic growth, has also taken up key strategic projects. One such has been the ‘Silk Route Transit,’ a terrestrial fibre-optic infrastructure initiative that aims to create an alternative route connecting Europe and the Middle East with the rest of the world. The Silk Road has a special place in our history for being the world’s largest trade route, apart from promoting economic and cultural exchanges between Europe and Asia since the second century BCE. However, modern technology has given rise to internet transit, by becoming one of the most valuable assets in a growing world revolving around AI, social media, business communication platforms, and entertainment. iQ Group has understood the reality and now, through the ‘Silk Route Transit,’ is attempting to build a connectivity infrastructure as big as the iconic network of the Eurasian trade routes, so that the businesses and individuals from Europe, Middle East and the rest of the world enjoy the best of the Iraqi telecom venture’s services.
“iQ has invested heavily in its infrastructure to date, demonstrating its commitment to providing top-quality internet services to the people of Iraq. Looking towards the future, iQ plans additional investments in capital expenditure over the next two years (2023-24). This investment will be used to deploy the national backbone, penetrating all major cities of Iraq and enhancing the physical protection of routes related to iQ’s Silk Route Transit project further improving the network infrastructure and world-class internet accessibility to even more people,” iQ Group stated.
Knowing The Silk Route Transit In Detail
The project started in 2010, and currently under the initiative, over 3500 kilometres of fibre-optic cable have been laid across Iraq. The Silk Route Transit’s multilayer fibre-optic network provides the shortest alternative terrestrial route to connect Europe to Asia and will enable users to have high-quality and low latency-based experiences.
The company also aims to enhance the physical protection of routes related to the project, ensuring the security and reliability of its services.
“This project is currently the only viable route that can reduce resistance between the two continents, changing the direction of traffic from the Eastern Mediterranean. Iraq can simplify the needs of providers and remove the demand for projects like the Blue-Raman. In short, as a transit hub, Iraq will be able to connect all the neighbouring countries and act as the path of least resistance between Europe and Asia,” iQ Group told International Finance.
To truly grasp the significance of the Silk Route Transit we went over the project map, which highlights the route of the fibre-optic cable, major cities and countries along the way, and any important landmarks or points of interest.
“The map visualizes the importance of the Silk Route Transit in connecting the East to the West,” iQ engineers stated.
iQ Transit Optical Cable Network is known as Iraq’s first fully secured fibre network, deployed in parallel with the Middle Eastern country’s strategic oil pipeline. Keeping in mind the immense value of the whole infrastructure network, its security has been handed over to the Federal Iraqi Government military and police forces.
“Latency is the key parameter for today’s digital transformation and telecommunication services. Communication over the sea cables might easily delay up to 150 milliseconds to access from the EU to Gulf. The Transit project will help decrease this digital journey to a value of 70 milliseconds between the same endpoints. iQ’s Silk Route Transit project aims to create an alternative route connecting Europe and the Middle East with the rest of the world, connecting all neighbouring countries to the global fibre-optic network,” the company remarked.
“The Silk Route Transit offers a broad range of services, including international private lease circuits, dark fibre, cross-border landing station interconnection, and direct international peering with cache servers. Additionally, the company partners with hyper scalers such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Facebook (Meta), TikTok, and others to further optimize the route. iQ also caters to its customers’ diverse needs by offering a wide range of contract terms, from short-term to long-term right of use. The project is designed to revolutionize connectivity in the region and empower businesses and individuals with fast, reliable, and secure internet access,” it stated further.
The Silk Route Transit is also designed to accommodate highly accessible alternative routes for carriers, OTTs, and enterprises to cope with future traffic growth. With high-capacity connections of up to 100 Gbps, the project can serve bandwidth-hungry applications such as Big Data, AI, IoT, among others, and provide improved end-user experiences for other cloud-based applications.
The project also offers a comprehensive range of services, including international private lease circuits, dark fibre, direct international peering with cache servers, cross-border landing station interconnection, and world-leading SD-WAN solutions, enabling efficient and secure networks for businesses and enterprises of all scales.
“iQ’s Silk Route Transit features Smart Network Analytical and Monitoring Tools, allowing its team to proactively troubleshoot and prevent network issues before they impact performance. With the largest number of certified resources, the highest number of deployments in the country, and 24/7 expert-level operational support, iQ provides the best support team for its customers,” the company noted.
The Promising Journey Ahead
The network evolution roadmap of the Silk Route Transit is focused on performance, reliability, and automation, thus ensuring a robust network infrastructure that delivers an exceptional digital experience. This game-changing project has been years in the making, and iQ is thrilled to finally share it as they continue to expand Iraq’s technological landscape.
The Silk Route Transit project has emerged as a groundbreaking connectivity initiative, benefiting the Middle East and beyond. As a transit hub, Iraq will act as the path of least resistance between Asia and Europe, connecting neighbouring countries to the global fibre-optic network.
“Through its unique route and design, iQ is committed to providing end-users with an exceptional experience by reducing latency and increasing availability. Additionally, iQ’s expertise in traffic engineering, combined with partnerships with hyper scalers, will continue to make this route even more effective in the future. As a leading fibre-optic internet provider, iQ remains committed to continuous growth and evolution within the industry, with a focus on delivering high-quality, reliable, and secure internet access to its customers and partners,” iQ Group concluded.