While in the last four months, internet access in Iran has been cut off or severely limited, the regime’s Minister of Information and Communications says that this year the production factors of the communications and information technology sector have grown by 13.3 percent and the share of digital economy in the per capita income of the country has also reached 7.2 percent.
Issa Zarepour claims that production in the communication and information technology sector has doubled twice while at least in the last four months, due to the internet shutdown and the expansion of censorship, many online businesses have been eliminated from Iran’s economy.
According to Zarepour, the share of the digital economy in the per capita income has increased from 6.4 percent to 7.2 percent. Zarepour said, “This amount should reach 10 percent by 2025, which I think can be increased to 30 percent in a 10-year horizon.”
Last month, the results of a Jobvision survey from 8,000 people, which was published in Digiato, showed that the digital marketing and SEO job group suffered the most from the recent uptick in internet censorship and restrictions. Also, 23 percent of the participants in the survey reported having lost their jobs.
Internet censorship in Iran has caused a “flood of startup migration”
In an interview with the Entekhab website on January 7, Mohammadreza Ghalenoie, an IT expert, said, “Many have migrated to neighboring countries and stationed their teams there, and activities are being carried out outside the country’s borders.”
Ghalenoie also emphasized the importance of public access to the Internet and the development of its related infrastructure.
According to Ghalenoie, the advantage that neighboring countries have over Iran in online businesses is the “the level of Internet access” and “required tools” to carry out their daily work.
Ghalenoie said that despite the higher costs of living in countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, internet restrictions in Iran have made it more affordable for startup teams to migrate to these countries.
Ghalenoie said that there is no exact figure on bankrupt startups that haven’t been able to migrate. But ” the number is certainly not small,” he said.
On October 18, in its latest report on the state of internet freedom in the world, Freedom House declared Iran as one of the countries that imposes the most restrictions on internet access.
Internet restrictions have caused $773 million
In a recent study, Top10VPN reported that Iran’s regime has caused thousands of hours of internet blackouts and social media shutdown in 2022.
“The deliberate internet outages were in response to anti-government protests over the economic crisis gripping the nation,” Top10VPN reported.
Top10VPN reported that during the protests that erupted after the death of Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran’s morality police, Iranian authorities blocked Instagram and WhatsApp indefinitely. “Mobile internet access was also frequently cut in rolling curfew-style blackouts during unrest that, despite a lethal crackdown by the authorities, has spread across Iran and remains volatile,” the report adds.
Demand for VPN services in Iran spiked by over 3,000% in September as Iranians sought to circumvent the restrictions. “Iranian authorities responded by cracking down even harder on VPN traffic and domains, as part of wider blocks on all international internet traffic, while maintaining a domestic internet,” Top10VPN reported.
Top10VPN estimated the loss imposed by the Iranian regime on 72 million Iranian users in 2022 to be around $773 million.