Internet in Fallujah?

$8 million telecom infrastructure project suggests an optimistic future, but without power the city remains in misery.

Internet is coming to Fallujah. Maybe things are actually looking up in Iraq. Not only that, but the city destroyed by a massive US assault on the city once controlled by Muqtada al-Sadr in 2004 is actually getting fresh water, AP reports.

By the end of September, officials say an $8 million wireless telecommunications project could activate 15,000 phone lines in the city. New, modern handsets will then be handed out to families that once had phones lines.

"This phone service will come with Internet. You can stick an ethernet cord in the back of the phone and voila," said Lt. Col. Carl Friedrich of Washington, D.C. If the project works, it could be extended to other cities in western Iraq.

Or maybe things aren't going all that smoothly. The article also notes: "mounds of rubble litter the city, electricity is available only four hours a day, and an estimated 50,000 people still have not returned." No one will consider Fallujah repaired until electricity works. The US has spent some $30 million on the grid and will spend another $30 million to improve the distribution system - but no power plants, so levels will remain stagnant, AP says.

"The number one need is electricity. All other projects come after this. The electricity that we have now is not enough," said Najim Abdullah, chairman of the Fallujah City Council.