Iranian village wired up for web access

Village of 6,000 logs on - now the race is on to beat the UK for broadband penetration...

Village of 6,000 logs on - now the race is on to beat the UK for broadband penetration...

A remote settlement in Iran has become the first village in the country to get online after a local lad used his US engineering qualification to get the neighbourhood wired up. While donkeys in the Iranian village of Shahkook still outnumber cars, its 6,000 residents are now to be offered the chance to surf the web. One elderly man even learnt to read specifically so he could be taught to use the internet. Shahkook, which is 240 miles north east of Tehran and 6,600 feet above sea level, became the internet centre of village life after one inhabitant of the area, Ali Akbar Jalali, went to the US to study an electrical engineering degree, and returned with a cunning plan. Villagers in Shahkook raised the cash to buy its first computer and a government grant paid for the second. The rest have been bought for the village by an Iranian charity based in London. The village has its own website written in Farsi and around 25 locals became entrepreneurs selling computer parts and information gleaned from web searches in the nearest town. So far, the Iranian religious right has not been able to pass legislation to stop the three per cent of the population with internet access from viewing pornography, although they are trying.