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Could We Beam Broadband Internet Into Iran? 541

Posted by timothy
from the extend-the-tubes dept.
abenamer writes "Some reporter at a recent White House press briefing just asked the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs, this question: Was 'the White House....considering beaming broad capability into Iran via satellite so the opposition forces would be able to communicate with themselves and the outside world?' 'Gibbs said he didn't know such a thing was possible. (Is it?) But he said he would check on the technological feasibility and get back with an answer.' I'm not sure what the reporter meant by beaming broadband into Iran: Do they even have 3G? Would we bomb the Iranians with SIM cards that would allow them to get text messages from the VOA? Or somehow put up massive Wi-Fi transmitters from Iraq and beam it into Iran? How would you beam broadband into Iran?"
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Could We Beam Broadband Internet Into Iran?

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  • Nokia Siemens Networks, the joint venture of Siemens AG and Nokia Corp, provided the deep packet inspection monitoring center within the Iranian government's telecom monopoly as part of a larger contract with Iran that included mobile-phone networking technology, according to the following article:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124562668777335653.html [wsj.com]
  • VOAol (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Not affiliated with Time-Warner.

  • Ummm (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @12:57PM (#28440957)

    Could they beam broadband into New York City first? Thanks.

    • Re:Ummm (Score:5, Funny)

      by Jurily (900488) <jurily@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:01PM (#28441015)

      Maybe to get widespread broadband, the US needs an emerging tyra.. oh wait.

    • by eclectro (227083)

      So opposition forces could communicate with the outside world?

      • Re:Ummm (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Rei (128717) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:39PM (#28441653) Homepage

        I loved Jon Stewart's comments last night. They played a montage of clips of pundits talking about how America is going to be perceived by the world based on what we do with Iran, what's America going to say, how's America going to promote the cause of the protesters, and so on -- who which he responded something to the effect of, "Because, of course, what's going on over there is all about us!"

        It's not about us. It's about Iran. It's their election and their struggle for democracy. The biggest complaint held almost universally by Iranians is that we've meddled in their affairs for too damn long -- propping up the Shah, funding Iraq in a war against them, sponsoring MEK, and so forth. The last thing they want is the US government yet again trying to tell them how their society is to be run. That's a perfect recipe for the US to be a foil to the hardliners. Nothing will rally conservative forces in Iran more than the belief that the US is supporting a coup against them yet again.

        On the other hand, support from *individual Americans*, that's completely different.

        • Re:Ummm (Score:4, Insightful)

          On the other hand, support from *individual Americans*, that's completely different.

          Is this like support from *individual Mormons* in the Proposition 8 campaign, because I don't think that kind of support will go down well with the Iranians either.

    • Re:Ummm (Score:5, Funny)

      by CarpetShark (865376) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:31PM (#28441503)

      What's the point? NY doesn't have anywhere near as much (potential for) oil as Iran.

  • Balloons? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by knothead99 (33644)
    Just recently there was a story on slashdot about using balloons in Africa to distribute internet connectivity. I don't recall the speeds they considered feasible. Such a deployment in Iran may also have to contend with attempts to shoot down or disable said balloons by those in power.
    • by eln (21727) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:00PM (#28440997) Homepage
      Just make the balloons festive colors and tell them we're throwing a nationwide party for Achmadinejad to celebrate his election. Air drop some party hats and noise makers. I'm sure they won't suspect a thing.
      • The uplink is the difficult and expensive part. Receiving satellite multi-cast is cheap. Wifi is cheap. So it should be dirt cheap to produce lots of local satellite->wifi repeaters pumping out data, so long as you skip on the uplink. Have some sort of simple one-way streaming multi-cast protocol. (You'd only need to do multi-cast on the LAN, and depend on distributing lots of units to get wide area coverage.) You'd have to distribute a new piece of software so that RSS readers and web browsers cou

    • by postbigbang (761081) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:43PM (#28441721)

      Iran, murky as it is, is a sovereign nation. Revolutions come from within, which is why we're spending trillions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The clue is: the iranians will figure it out. The more external influences are brought to bear, the more a subsequent government will be suspect by its people. They have to do it. We have to sit back and watch. Otherwise, it won't stick, and it will devolve into the seventh civil war in the Middle East. Here's the current list, if you're not sure: Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine, Pakistan, Somalia, Eritrea/Ethiopia. A quiet revolution makes much more sense than one that will continue to divide what were once peace-loving peoples.

      • by Dog-Cow (21281) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:52PM (#28441895)

        How is Palestine a civil war? Or are you talking about history? The last civil war in that area took place a couple thousand years ago, which makes sense seeing as how that was the last time the area had sovereign rule against which to start a war.

  • by Het Irv (1424087) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @12:58PM (#28440969)
    Camels with Wifi!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by TRS80NT (695421)
      You laugh but it could be true. In the early 70s I lived in Asmara, Ethiopia (now Eritria). Our place was on the edge of town and we often saw camel trains plodding in from the hills headed for the marketplace. The lead camel usually had a blaring transistor radio around its neck. I always wondered if the lead camel driver had a radio because he was the leader or if he was the leader because he had a radio.
  • Ummm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by clang_jangle (975789) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @12:58PM (#28440971) Journal
    How about we "beam broadband" to our own have-nots first?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by langelgjm (860756)

      Are you really telling me you don't see a good reason to provide an unfiltered communication capability to Iran given its current situation? It wouldn't have to a permanent setup.

      On the other hand, then they could legitimately blame us for interference...

      • Re:Ummm (Score:5, Insightful)

        by DrLang21 (900992) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:07PM (#28441117)
        I don't. The more we interfere here, the more likely it is that someone new is going to form a grudge against us. Why can't we just let people revolt without our interference? If the protests in Iran escalate to a civil war, then we need to stay the hell out of it. If we don't, how are we going to respond if the revolt loses and the Iranian government accuses us of encouraging violence and discord in their country? Do we really have to wonder why the Iranian government thinks we're a bunch of bullies?
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by langelgjm (860756)
          It's legitimate to wonder whether it would be a wise thing to do, but the OP's argument was "we should do this for our people first" (similar to an AC post down below), and appears to be totally ignorant of current events.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            ..but the OP's argument was "we should do this for our people first" (similar to an AC post down below), and appears to be totally ignorant of current events.

            That's a little unfair. I think the OP's argument was made despite current events. I also agree with the OP that if the US government had the capability to provide broadband connectivity to its citizens as easily as "beaming" it over an area then we should ask why can't the government provide us with that now?

        • I don't. The more we interfere here, the more likely it is that someone new is going to form a grudge against us.

          Only if you help the wrong guys (i.e. those who lose)...

          If we don't, how are we going to respond if the revolt loses and the Iranian government accuses us of encouraging violence and discord in their country?

          The same way you respond to North Korea?

        • Re:Ummm (Score:5, Informative)

          by demachina (71715) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:38PM (#28441625)

          Exactly right. The U.S. and Britain started this whole fiasco in 1953 by meddling in Iran's affairs and overthrowing Mohammed Mosaddeq [wikipedia.org] in Operation AJAX [wikipedia.org]. They installed the Shah, a ruthless dictator with a security apparatus as bad or worse than the current Iran Regime, SAVAK [wikipedia.org]. The Iranian people hated the Shah so much they turned to the Islamists in the 1978/1979 Iranian revolution to overthrew him, and replaced the devil they knew with the devil they have now. Mossaddeq nationalized British run oil fields in Iran and the U.S. and Britain over thew him to regain control of the oil. It was one of the early and most vivid proofs that yes in fact the U.S. and Britain will do just about anything to control oil fields including coups and wars. All things considered if Mossaddeq had been left in power Iranian would have been a lot better and happier place.

          Anyone with the slightest sense of history realizes the U.S. and Britain need to stay completely out of this because their involvement will just give the current regime a potent propaganda tool to say the protests are a western imperialist instigated counter revolution to the 1979 overthrow of the Shah. Its bad enough things like Twitter and Facebook are U.S. based.

        • Re:Ummm (Score:5, Interesting)

          by darknb (1193867) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:41PM (#28441673)

          Why can't we just let people revolt without our interference?

          Because in the history of revolting THAT IS WHAT HAS ALWAYS HAPPENED, there has never been a revolt in the world where outside backers haven't cast there lot with one or another faction like that. So any thought of Iran revolting and America not being involved, because of good feelings and such, is just hopeful fantasy. Iran suffering a revolt and America is tacitly condemning the Iranian crackdown because the revolt is not likely to succeed and Obama has already made moves to reconcile with the ruling Islamic government. The only reason to even lodge a complaint against Iran was to put pressure on them, to make them uncomfortable, but unless the govt. shows signs of toppling America will not move in Iran. If America does move we won't even know what side America will back, they could just as easily support the ailing regime in exchange for their unending debt and gratitude...

          A more important question is why we would "beam broadband" (no doubt many slashdotters recoiled at this phrase, but we get the gist of it I suppose) to the opposition forces. Is there any evidence that broadband will help these people out against the government? They could just as easily use word of mouth and secret meetings, no doubt they already do. Unless this whole revolt started on the back of websites and mass emailings...
           

          EVEN MORE IMPORTANT is why you care about Iran in the first place. Tajikistan Turkmenistan Azerbijian and Uzbekistan (check your map all close neighbors of Iran) haven't had free elections in god knows how long. Look up Turkmenbashy! We don't care about these countries beating and torturing opposition supporters. These countries play ball, they are part of the great Caspian pipeline and the same police forces that torture electorates, torture terrorists/anarchists/democrats/republicans/monarchists who try and blow up the pipeline. The only reason human rights are brought up in the news/politics is because the West (sometimes the East) wants to gain something. Go look up the news for Tamil Tigers and War Crimes trials, Europe and the US want the Sri Lankan govt. to be punished, whilst China Russia and India don't: it certainly isn't because of a disagreement about who are the victims. Giving a shit about Human Rights abuses in Iran is hypocritical and foolish. In fact, giving a shit about human rights abuses at all is hypocritical and foolish...
           

          So please stop reading your newspapers/blogs/slashdotinternationalnews and answering for dribble like "How can we beam happy sunshine into Iran". Have some self-respect.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Go look up the news for Tamil Tigers and War Crimes trials, Europe and the US want the Sri Lankan govt. to be punished, whilst China Russia and India don't:

            That is completely untrue. In fact, the only evidence I can find is that the UK in particular seems a lot more interested in prosecuting Tamil Tigers than the Sri Lankan government.

            Here in the USA we have a lot of Tamil immigrants. Some from India. Some from Sri Lanka. They make a lot of noise. I personally know a Tamil family and they are constantly trying to rally US support to "stop the killing" or whatever the phrase of the day is.

            The fact is that the Tamil Tigers upped the ante in intern

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by MozeeToby (1163751)

            EVEN MORE IMPORTANT is why you care about Iran in the first place.

            We the people, not saying anything about the government, care because the Iranians care. We care because the Iranians are pissed off enough at a sham election to demand real democracy. We see something of ourselves 200 years ago in what the Iranians are doing today, to the point that most don't know or even care about what the politics involved are. We simply like seeing people stand up for themselves against an oppressive government because the only effective way to get rid of oppression is from within.

        • Re:Ummm (Score:4, Interesting)

          by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@ g m a i l . c om> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:48PM (#28441827) Journal

          I don't think offering national wifi would be too much of a problem as far as our image is concerned. We could bill it as being humanitarian, e.g. to help the red cross volunteers that are undoubtably already there.

          The point is moot however. Satellite wifi is only 1 way...Hand held devices don't have the transmission power to hit an orbital target. The only way we could set up some kind of wireless broadband would be with big honkin towers, serving local nodes, etc, and that ain't happening. And if we sent basically a 1-way "information" broadcast, we would (rightly) be accused of interference.

      • Re:Ummm (Score:4, Informative)

        by feepness (543479) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:34PM (#28441561) Homepage
        I see plenty of good reasons. But just having a good reason isn't enough to do something. We have limited resources. There are many oppressed nations around the world. How about instead of rushing to interfere with Iran, we simply stop supporting the oppressive regimes we prop up first?
    • by e4g4 (533831)
      Done [earthlink.net]
  • Why not set up 802.11 in east Iraq?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sponge Bath (413667)

      Wouldn't the Iraqi government have to sign off on that, since Iraq is sovereign nation? I suspect there is enough Iranian influence that they would not allow it.

  • How would you beam broadband into Iran?

    I don't know... but something I once read prompts me to answer that they might beam broadband capability into Iran via satellite.

  • by dr_db (202135) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:00PM (#28441003)

    We would have to ask Scotty if we had enough power to beam broadband.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by owlnation (858981)

      We would have to ask Scotty if we had enough power to beam broadband.

      Captain, ma dongle canna tak much more o' this!

  • Meddling West (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mojatt (704902)
    Great, one more thing that Iran could accuse us of... meddling in their election, providing support to protesters in hopes of influencing their electoral process, just what we need! Don't get me wrong, it's a good idea, and I'm all for helping but it's just one more thing. Don't we have enough to worry about on our home soil?
  • by alta (1263) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:07PM (#28441113) Homepage Journal

    Getting a signal TO them is easy. You just have to set up a source with sufficient power. Satellite, ground, shortwave, whatever. I think it would be feasible (I'm not radio guru) to beam them FM from space or Iraq. Basiclly you'd be breaking all the transmit power limits to further your cause.

    The problem with networking is they don't have any devices powerful enough to beam the return signal BACK to us. Sure, we can broadcast them a packet 1000 miles away, but their hardware only has the power to return it 1 mile back... Yeah, you can tweak the sensitivity of your receiving equip, but not enough for this. And the idea of cells is that you are counting on a signal only reaching a certain distance, so you can reuse that frequency in another location. Even if they all put 100,000 watt amplifiers on their wifi cards, on our end it's just jumbled garbage.

    By the time we got any hardware to them to let them communicate with us, this revolution will be over... R&D, Procurement, Distribution...

    • by Spazmania (174582)

      It isn't about power, its about gain and signal-to-noise ratio. With the right antenna carefully pointed, I can read your signal loud and clear at 10 miles or more, no matter how wimpy your transmitter.

      You've seen the pictures of radio-telescopes, basically huge dishes? That's what they're doing: reading very weak signals from very far away but only with an extremely narrow beam width.

  • Eh sonny? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:07PM (#28441131) Journal
    Does whoever asked that question know absolutely nothing about how "beaming" works? We could easily transmit more or less whatever we like down; but that won't magically turn Iranian cell phones or wifi devices into satellite modems. You'd need to substantially change, and upgrade, the hardware that they are using for any sort of communication to be established.

    And, if the plan is to provide large quantities of Officially Discouraged Hardware to all and sundry, we might as well just mix rifles in with the phones and call it a day.
    • Re:Eh sonny? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by gamanimatron (1327245) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:21PM (#28441325) Journal

      Does whoever asked that question know absolutely nothing about how "beaming" works?

      Yep. They also know nothing about routers, packets, fiber or anything that would explain how those videos get from YouTube to their iphones. My wife tells me that most people are living in a world where all sorts of neat stuff happens magically, and when it stops happening the only real solution is to call some company (or, if they're lucky, a sufficiently tech-savvy friend) that can make that magic start working again.

      This is fairly disturbing.

      • Re:Eh sonny? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by kclittle (625128) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @02:09PM (#28442223)
        I've worked in telecoms for a looong time now, on the technical side (embedded SW). If my Comcast service stops working, and is still not working after the usual sanity checks (restart Firefox, ping google, reset modem and router, etc.), I, uh, call Comcast. What, you want me to break out a 'scope or packet analyzer? Want me to pop the top on their green box out by the curb? Hack into their Cisco box at the head end? No, thanks -- it's *their* debugging problem, not mine! :)
  • We can send sattelite internet to them quite easily. The real issue is that they have no gear to receive it. I'm sure we could dump stuff off by the truckload... but then I have to ask why? If the opposition loses, we have an even BIGGER diplomatic issue on our hand with a country we need to try to repair relations with over the long-term. I'd say we're best suited sitting back and letting it play out.
  • by Delwin (599872) * on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:10PM (#28441161)
    There's a number of places that offer satellite internet to geosync satellites. http://www.wildblue.com/aboutWildblue/how_it_works_demo.jsp [wildblue.com] http://www.ussatellite.com/how-satellite-internet-works.html [ussatellite.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Joce640k (829181)
      What's really needed is a mesh network (like the XO/OLPC) between Wifi peers which reaches to the border so the day-saving politicians can take it from there. All it needs is a sufficient density of WiFi enabled PCs.
  • Google it (Score:3, Informative)

    by R4nm4-kun (1302737) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:10PM (#28441173)
    There already are various Satellite Providers that offer Internet Connectivity also in Iran, just try to :google it [google.com] .
    I'm pretty sure the US Army already has it's own satellite ISP that works in Iraq, which means it also works in Iran, they'd just have to be so generous to let the Iranis use it, they don't really need special equipment for this, they can buy satellite capable phones in Iran, they just need the access to the US army networks, or commercial networks. Just give them some access to satellite providers, then they can set up their own networks on site if they're the least bit organized, otherwise it's no use anyway.

    Wifi from Irak isn't really possible, It would work around the borders, but that's all, Iran is a pretty big country, it's meaningless, satellite is the only option, either that or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_over_Avian_Carriers [wikipedia.org] .
    • by jonbryce (703250)

      Just buy satellite capable phones in Iran?

      It isn't the sort of thing I can pick up at my local Carphone Warehouse or Phones4U.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tibman (623933)

      When i was deployed to Iraq my platoon was in a tiny coalition camp, no internet, phones, mail, tv, pay, or anything. So we found a local guy in the city that sold us a civilian satelite dish. We paid him in cash each month and he took it to bagdad and paid somebody for the service. We convoyed to the nearest FOB with payservices to get the cash (and the mail, ANCD fills, candy, taco bell, whatever).

      I think we had 12 unique IPs and the bandwidth was decent. The only problems we had was people leaving th

  • WildBlue [wildblue.com] provides satellite service throughout most of the U.S. Speeds, low. Latency, high. Gaming, impossible. But at least it works.

    I believe that they use low earth orbit [wikimedia.org] satellites, which means that they may not have the technical capability to provide coverage over Iran, at least not all the time. And then there's the matter of getting ground stations smuggled in and installed, and they're large enough (the size of a DirectTV dish) to be difficult to conceal.

  • RFC2549 [rfc-editor.org] seems to be a perfect fit here.
  • I wonder if abenamer even knows what SIM cards are? Does he know that they are subject to "approval" from the network? So unless he wants to send a GSM network as well they are useless. There are ways of spoofing and cloning of course, but that would also be quite simple to fix from an Iranian point of view; shut down the whole GSM phone network. Of course if they gave them satellite phones that would work! For both voice and data communications.
  • Yes, we could beam a high-power 802.11 service into at least the border regions of Iran and we could use well enough focused antenna arrays to pick up the wimpy signals their 802.11 cards sent back. And the nature of spread spectrum is such that they'd have a devil of a time jamming it.

    The problem is, the friendly policefolk in Iran would be able to pick up the wimpy 802.11 signals as well, and trace them right back to the Iranians who are transmitting. It isn't like an AM radio signal where the receivers a

  • Don't do anything (Score:4, Insightful)

    by giorgiofr (887762) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:18PM (#28441303)
    The world has been clamoring for you guys to stop meddling in their affairs and only mind your own. So I suggest that you should do just that: it will cost you nothing and you won't generate any further ill will towards you. What's not to like?
    Maybe people will change their mind or maybe they won't, either way you'll be covered.
    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @02:07PM (#28442193)

      There are too many people in the U.S. and UK who are WAY too into meddling in this fight. This is something the Iranians have to do or not do on their own. Nothing good can come of western meddling in this case. It will only give the Ahmadinejad regime an excuse to crack down on the dissenters as western-sponsored traitors. Even in the best case scenarios, the people we help will likely only resent us for it in the end (since it will taint their movement with the possibility that it was just some CIA sponsored coup, instead of a legitimate grass roots movement).

      The best thing the west can do right now is to stay out of it and stfu.

  • The hardware necessary for them to acquire a signal from inside Iran to outside would be pretty damn obvious.

  • DVB-S2/RCS or BGAN (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bluefirebird (649667) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:22PM (#28441333)
    There are two possible technologies (among other similar ones)

    With DVB-S2/RCS you have a bidirectional satellite system that requires a 1.2 meter dish antenna and a satellite terminal composed of an indoor unit (about the size of a bulky cable-modem) and an outdoor unit (transmitter and receiver horn mounted on the focus point of the satellite dish. This costs around US$1000 dollars and it takes about 30min to install (if you are an experienced installer).

    With BGAN you have a very portable terminal (about the size of a netbook) that only requires you to point it in the general vicinity of the satellite location in the horizon.

    Both systems use GEO (geostationary) satellites, which means that they have a fixed location in the horizon. They are actually located over the equator (0Â latitude) and they orbit the earth in 24h cycles, thus appearing to be stationary.
    With DVB-S2/RCS you can have a 50Mbit/s in the downlink, although most services provide less than 10Mbit/s. The usually upload speed is 1Mbit/s. This speeds are shared between all terminals within a beam (similar to Internet over cable, where you share your Internet within a residential area of about 1000 persons).
    With BGAN you only have 492Kbit/s in both the downlink and uplink. On the other hand, it is designed for mobility.
  • If they planned for this big firewall operation, I have no doubt they also rigged the election. Having the landslide victory why fear the recount ?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:24PM (#28441387)

    The Tor project has taken it upon themselves to help out the resistance in Iran. They have instructions to setup Iran only Tor bridges to provide secure/anonymous internet access to and from Iran.

    https://blog.torproject.org/blog/measuring-tor-and-iran

    Too bad the press isn't paying attention to the (very successful) efforts by the Tor project in helping out the people of Iran get communications in and out of Iran. No need for the White House to do anything, the good folks and volunteers at Tor are taking care of it in a much more practical way.

    Also, whoever wrote this article/said that comment has no idea about physics and technology. Some of the comments here talking about how unbelievably implausible "beaming broadband" into Iran is are very funny.

    You can't just throw internet into a country.... not in any practical way anyways, especially from a satellite without proper ground equipment.

  • by booyabazooka (833351) <ch.martin@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:30PM (#28441475)

    Some are born with Internet, some pay a lot for Internet, and others have Internet thrust upon them.

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:30PM (#28441483) Homepage

    The US is currently sending out satellite TV news in Persian 24 hours a day. [ibb.gov] It's on Telstar 12; the eastern edge of coverage is near the Iran-Pakistan border, and the whole EU is covered. Someone please take a look and see what they're sending. The IBB doesn't seem to have the transponder number, symbol rate, or frequency on their site, which is lame.

  • by jerhurwitz (1583509) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:32PM (#28441523)
    Where there any revolutions recorded in history before the internet existed? Sorry if this seems like a dumb question. Maybe someone is doing their thesis on it or something.
  • Unhelpful Question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dbcad7 (771464) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:50PM (#28441861)
    In Iran.. protesters that have been arrested, have been put on TV to tell how they have been influenced by the BBC and Voice of America to riot.. This is part of their punishment. The government is spinning everything as a western plot.. The latest is that the shooting of the girl Neda, was somehow staged by the west.. The Iranian governments propaganda is is like conspiricist theories on steroids.. They will use a question about beaming broadband to prove that the west is behind it all, you can be sure,
  • No (Score:5, Insightful)

    by abigsmurf (919188) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @01:53PM (#28441925)

    Could we beam broadband internet into Iran? Yes. Could they send anything back? No.

    However, everyone assumes that we 'should' be doing this and helping the revolution so they can experience 'freedom'.

    For one thing, this isn't a popular uprising. It's taking place in a liberal city and is mostly students (although not entirely). Polls taken beforehand that were trustworthy indicate that Ahmadinejad could've expected between 40-50% of the vote in the election. That means he has a whole lot of supporters out there.

    How do you think these supporters would feel if the opposition not only got brought into power on the basis of 'liberal' protesters who didn't represent them, but they were helped and organised through American help? Even if it wasn't state sanctioned, they'll still see it as America behind it.

    All this to get a president into power who isn't that much better than the current one in terms of how liberal he is.

    Brown and Obama have taken a strictly hands off approach for a reason. It's best at the moment to hope the situation resolves itself without excessive bloodshed. Too much pushing will at best, make a good portion of the country think we're meddling, at worst, it'll push the two entrenched sides into a bloody civil war.

    It's currently Iran's problem and it should be up to the Iranian people to resolve it, not for the outside to decide what they think is best for them.

  • I don't get it (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Britz (170620) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @02:39PM (#28442741) Homepage

    I don't get the whole Iran thing at all.

    What do I know:

    Mousavi ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mir-Hossein_Mousavi [wikipedia.org] ) is not a reformer. He was prime minister during some of the worst days of the revolution. He held high offices and oversaw the imprisonment of tens thousands of peaceful opposition figures (or just ordinary people caught drinking wine for example). Many of whom were tortured and/or killed. For some insight into those horrible times you can check out Persepolis ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Persepolis_(comics) [wikipedia.org] ) movie or comic.

    Mousavi seems to be a member of a so called "reformist alliance". Former president Khatami also belongs to the same group. He was elected, because many people seemed to hope they could bring some change using the elections. Khatami himself said that he is not a reformer. But still tried to ease up on the restrictions governing the daily lives of the Iranians. It didn't help. Other "more hardcore" elements of the government that are not controlled by the president and the parliament cracked down and reversed changes. As a result the public grew weary of the so called "reformist alliance" that could not (or didn't want to) actually reform anything.

    The whole thing looks like trouble within the supposedly ruling class of clerics. Why do so many people protest on the streets? Most likely it wouldn't make a difference if Mousavi was elected. Also AFAIK the Pasdaran actually control Iran. A very corrupt military organization ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Army_of_the_Guardians_of_the_Islamic_Revolution [wikipedia.org] ).

    Can anyone shed some light on this whole thing? Could it not be that Ahmadinejad actually got 60% of the popular vote? After all he is a populist. Maybe he is popular after all. Why would the rulers of Iran risk a popular uprising for nothing. Khatami couldn't do anything at all. He didn't have much actual power. Same with Ahmadinejad. He is just a puppet. Mousavi would also just be a puppet.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      A couple of things:

      Mousavi *is* a reformer. At least, he certainly has been promising reforms during his election campaign.
      His history is definitely not good. His promises of reforms may or may not be believable... I don't know.
      To be clear, in the context of a Canadian election this man and his policies would be considered extremist religious lunacy.
      In the context of an Iranian election his election platform is a worthwhile step in the right direction.

      If he had been elected last week I would not have any

  • by Venotar (233363) on Tuesday June 23, 2009 @04:15PM (#28444423) Homepage

    In theory, WIMAX can give you usable (if somewhat slow) speeds out to 50km [wikipedia.org] - which might get some villages close to Iran's borders but won't help Tehran at all.

    Anyone who has the right sort of CPE, the right knowledge, and proper credentials can use a dish subscriber network to get as much as 2mbps down and 1mbps up. The latency blows, but it's not like the service is meant for playing the latest FPS. The big downside is the customer equipment - satellite dishes are thick on the ground in most areas of the middle east, but I'd be a little surprised if enough of them are the right sort of dish to matter. If they are, it may not matter - Iran's been taking various measures [motherjones.com] to reduce citizen's access to satellites [rferl.org]

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