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The Man in Charge of Restoring Iraq's Telecom

The White House put Dan Sudnick in charge of restoring civilian telecommunications following the Iraq War. The efforts of his staff, successors, and Iraqi counterparts are beginning to bear fruit.

11 min read

IEEE Member Daniel R. Sudnick served in Iraq following the end of the military phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the beginning of the reconstruction phase of overall operations. His tour as Senior Advisor for Communications at the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), in Baghdad, was to direct the authority's reconstruction efforts and its multinational investments in the telecommunications infrastructure. He oversaw the formation and launch of the Iraqi Ministry of Communications (MOC) and a nascent, independent regulatory body, the Iraqi National Communications and Media Commission.

Under authority of the CPA, Sudnick tackled the problems of restoring landline telecommunications networks, developing new wireless and cell-based telephony and IT services, establishing rules for frequency spectrum for civilian and military purposes, and even reestablishing the nation's postal system. His ministry issued over 120 radio and television licenses. Where only one monopoly telephone company existed before the war, six licensed operators now exist. Since January 2004, the mobile cellphone operators have added nearly 700 000 new subscribers at a rate of 15 000 new subscribers per week. There are now about five times more phone subscribers in Iraq as there were before the war, as Executive Editor Glenn Zorpette points out in this month's feature "Iraq Goes Wireless".

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Why the Internet Needs the InterPlanetary File System

Peer-to-peer file sharing would make the Internet far more efficient

12 min read
An illustration of a series
Carl De Torres

When the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early 2020, the world made an unprecedented shift to remote work. As a precaution, some Internet providers scaled back service levels temporarily, although that probably wasn’t necessary for countries in Asia, Europe, and North America, which were generally able to cope with the surge in demand caused by people teleworking (and binge-watching Netflix). That’s because most of their networks were overprovisioned, with more capacity than they usually need. But in countries without the same level of investment in network infrastructure, the picture was less rosy: Internet service providers (ISPs) in South Africa and Venezuela, for instance, reported significant strain.

But is overprovisioning the only way to ensure resilience? We don’t think so. To understand the alternative approach we’re championing, though, you first need to recall how the Internet works.

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