"We have received our first file as a PAP (private access provider), which enables us to provide our clients with ADSL, allowing high-speed internet access," Parsonline official Majid
Emami told reporters on Friday. 

"We will have to go through the Iranian telecom service, but it is a first step towards privatising telecommunications," he added. 

"The contract allows us to install in one year at least 20,000 portals or provide access in five provinces and about 20 towns," said Emami. 

Going online

The ADSL service, which offers high-speed internet access, will open up Iran to the network, allowing banks and companies to get online. 

Out of a population of about 66 million, there are more than three million internet users in Iran, most of them young people, said Riza Hadjebi, an executive for Parsonline, which currently has more than 60,000 clients. 

Dozens of private companies provide internet services to Iranians. But in the last few months, officials have decided to limit internet access, particularly pornographic websites or sites belonging to political groups hostile to the Islamic authorities.