The Iranian government says the deployment of its National Information Network (NIN) – a state-backed nationwide intranet system – is 80% complete. A report from US-sponsored radio station Radio Farda says the project has so far cost the government IRR120 trillion (USD2.85 billion), with a further IRR70 trillion coming from the private sector.
The aim of the NIN is to create a domestic internet system which can be used to promote Islamic content, offering high speed connectivity to end users at much cheaper prices than they would pay for a connection to the World Wide Web. Critics of the system say, however, that this ‘halal internet’ encourages censorship and government control, while hampering free speech. The Iranian government has blocked access to social media platforms such as YouTube and Facebook, though many local users are thought to utilise VPN services to get around the ban.