Internet Penetration Rates in Iraq

It was the early 2000’s when Iraq was first introduced to the sounds of the dial up modem; the sound soon spread as a well-known soundtrack. If it took too long that meant only one thing NO INTERNET CONNECTION!

There is no denying that Iraq has gone through tremendous improvements since the early 2000’s. During the early years of Internet availability in the country, Iraq made up a small percent of worldwide Internet users, today however, things have changed. The data provided by the World Bank states that in 2001 Iraq had an Internet penetration of only 0.1%, this percentage increased to 17.2% in 2015.

According to Live Internet Stats, a site that analyzes Internet consumption per country, Iraq’s Internet penetration rate is rapidly increasing. In 2003 only 0.6% of the population of Iraq were using the Internet, meaning only 153,783 people in Iraq were online.

The percentage of Internet penetration rate in the country remained low between the years of 2003 to 2009. The highest percent of Internet penetration in those 5 years was 1.1%.

In 2010 things began escalating, the Internet penetration rate increased from 1.1% to 2.5% in one year, with the total number of users reaching 771,704.

From the years of 2011 and 2016 the increase in the Internet penetration rate has not been less than 5%. The largest Internet penetration rate increase was in 2016 with a rate of 13%, meaning that the total numbers of Internet users in the country are 4,892,463.

The significant increase began taking place after 2010; Iraq does not stand alone in this phenomenon. Many other countries around the world witnessed high growth in Internet penetration rates in 2010. United Kingdom for example, broke its record and reached 85% of their total penetration rate. Another example is the UAE; in 2010 they too broke their record and reached 68% of total their Internet penetration rate.

Even though our Internet penetration rates are not as near as most other countries, the increase and capacity of Internet use in Iraq cannot be denied.


Lara Saeed is a graduate of the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani. She holds a BA degree in English Literature. During her four years in university, she was a staff writer for AUIS Voice, the first independent on campus newsletter in Iraq. When she is not busy reading, writing, or editing Lara likes to… read.

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