The Gigantic antenna of the Assadabad earth-satellite station.
Note the curious gulls from a nearby lake flying around it.

The 1970's brought dramatic improvements in Iran's telecommunication services. The number of telephone subscriber connections increased from 265,000 at the end of 1970 to 630,000 at the end of 1975, with nearly all of the latter enjoying an automatic dialling service. By  1978 there were more than one million suscribers. Subscriber Trunk Dialing (STD) was first introduced in 1971, to link the cities of Tehran, Esfahan and Shiraz. By the end of 1975 fully automatic long-distance service interconnected 54 major towns and cities.

During the period 1971-1975 the national long distance microwave radio network was fully integrated, and by the end of 1975 it provided 20,000 route-kilometres and 5,000,000 voice-channel kilometres of high-quality circuits. It also carries television sound and picture signals to all parts of the country.

In 1970 there were fewer than 500 telex subscribers in Iran. In 1975 an entirely computerized telex switching system was commissioned. Over 1,800 subscribers were already connected in Tehran alone. In 1976, this was increased to 9,000 telex subscribers by means of 12 interconnected exchanges. Both existing telex networks (Persian and Latin alphabet type) were fully automatic.

International telephone services were being greatly expanded. The original standard earth station, which since 1969 had worked through the Atlantic Ocean geostationary satellite, was supplemented in 1973 by a second earth station beamed on the Indian Ocean satellite. A new international telephone exchange which will allowed fully-automatic international service was also completed. The new equipment became operational in 1976.

Apart from international satellite circuits, new or improved terrestrial links were being provided with Turkey, Pakistan, Kuwait, the ex-Soviet Union, Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 1973 the Government decided to accelerate the already rapid rate of growth of telecommunication services, and a new generation of computer-controlled telephone switching equipment with outstanding technical advantages was selected. Like the earlier equipment it replaced, it was manufactured in Iran by the country's 5 rapidly growing electronics industry.

Plans called for subscriber connections to increase from one one million at the end of 1978 to 2.000.000 by the end of 1980. Associated with this programme were major projects for the construction of new buildings, the laying of telephone cables and the expansion of inter-city facilities. A domestic satellite project, which by 1979 would have considerably increased telecommunications and television transmission capacity, was on the drawing board. Parallel with this prolect, the number of locations in the country with dial telephone service would have increased from 54 to about 350 and much more later.

The very rapid development of the network required integration and expansion of all existing telecommunications training facilities, and the provision of entirely new training centres. To provide necessary support in the areas of network design, staff training and system maintenance and operation, the Government had included consultancy agreements with several of the world's leading telephone operating administrations.

Within five years the Iranian telecommunications network would have become one of the most modern in the world. Most of its subscribers would have had facilities such as the automatic print-out of all their long-distance calls, push-button dialling, abbreviated dialling and call forwarding. Perhaps most important, faults or substandard service in the network would be automatically reported, recorded and analyzed, thus enabling rapid correction.

This expansion and modernization programme was one of the most ambitious in the history of telecommunications, and was essential to ensure the planned and systematic growth of Iran's socio-economic infrastructure, a vital factor in the nation's overall development.