Internet and freeview in the COB Iraq

Just been briefed that you can buy the laptop adapters (for watching freeview) in theatre from the naafi/efi. Does anyone know the price? I'm guessing they're charging a premium to their 'captive' audience, just wondering if it's better to buy before I go or order online.
Also been told that there's now a wireless internet system set up so we can surf on our laptops without having to use the usual cabins, is this correct?



I don't know about Iraq - if there isn't a system set up, it's probably a lost cause, as the smart money is on us withdrawing at some point after Our Dear Leader hands over to Gordon Brown.

There is - or should be - hope in Afghanistan, as we're going to be there for some time, and there are companies willing to provide the service.

The following is cut and pasted from ArmyNet (

In May/Jun 06, after security and contractual clearance from Theatre J2 and SAT IPT respectively, PJHQ approved in principle wireless internet for Afghanistan. An Afghanistani company was approached to provide wireless internet options for Kandahar, with a view to extending the service to other locations. This company proved to be unreliable, and so in Aug/Sep 06 'SkyDec', a Dutch company providing internet access to Dutch forces in Kandahar was approached.

Extensive planning took place, and SkyDec were ready to move their equipment from Holland to Germany, for onward dispatch to theatre via the UK military airbridge. Then, in Nov 06 PJHQ stated that SkyDec would have to pay the RAF considerable freight charges to move their kit to theatre (even though it was a welfare system). SkyDec withdrew their offer.

Other options were evaluated in Dec 06 (which took time because of R&R, and Xmas). In Jan/Feb 06 a British-operated Afghanistani company recced Kandahar, and we planned wireless roll-out for across Cambridge Lines, with a view to extending provision to other locations once it had been successfully trialled in Kandahar. I ended tour on HERRICK at the end of Feb, at which point SO2 J1 at UK NSE (A) HQ was in the process of signing a contract with the new company. I don't know what happened after that, but it is *extremely* frustrating that something so easy has taken so long... I suggest that personnel in theatre direct their enquiries to SO2 J1 at UK NSE(A) HQ, via their chain of command.

The document below is cut and pasted from the Nov 06 SkyDec submission. It was, as I left theatre, the blueprint for allowing the new company (whose name escapes me), to install their own systems. It really shouldn't be that difficult to get WiFi a) into Kandahar as a trial, and then b) into other theatre locations: keep up the pressure! (I have a vested interest, as my brother is an infantry officer serving in Helmand, and it would be nice if the work put it last year bears fruit before he ends tour...)

ArmyNet is shortly to introduce 'secure instant messaging'. Instant messaging is OK, but nowhere near as good as being able to telephone family and friends. Someone on ArmyNet asked about Skype - it is used extensively by British personnel in Kabul, using the NATO-provided welfare facilty (wireless and cabled), and also by RAF personnel living in the US Army accommodation at Kandahar. The company who runs the NATO systems in Kabul is the same one we agreed would install wireless in Kandahar, Lashkar Gar, Bastion, et al, when I left theatre. They reported that Skype was by far the most popular service used by soldiers in Kabul. (Skype allows phone calls to be made for a 3.3p connection charged, then 1p per minute, or - for a £10 annual charge you can get Skype Pro and get "free" UK calls, only paying a 3.3p connection charge for each call.)

I urge people in theatre to press, through their chain of command, for wireless internet to be installed into British accommodation. ...the Americans, Dutch, Canadians, and NATO all have it (and have had for a considerable time), why don't British soldiers?...*

* Relatives may wish to consider contacting their MPs and asking the same question. Parliamentary Questions seem to be remarkable catalysts...

Extracts from documents staffing wireless requirement:


UK NSE HQ/6000

23 Nov 06

SO2 J1*



1. Provision of internet access to UK Tier 2 accommodation.


2. UK NSE(A) J1 is recommended to seek approval from PJHQ to engage with SkyDec for the provision of internet access in UK Tier 2 accommodation.


3. If an agreement with the contractor can be concluded by 30 Nov 06, and subject to the capability of the air bridge, it should be possible to provide internet access to KAF Tier 2 accommodation by the end of December 2006.

4. Existing Provision. Paradigm welfare facilities are scaled at a ratio of 1 internet terminal per 100 personnel. Assuming that most personnel are only free to use these terminals during the period 1800-2359, and each ‘slot’ is for 30 minutes, this allows for each officer or soldier 30 minutes’ usage per 8 day period .

5. ROCC Career Courses . Internet access is now required for Army officers’ career courses, and these are expected to be completed regardless of operational deployments ... Paradigm facilities are not technically capable of supporting, or appropriate for* , officers’ study, quite aside from their limited numbers. The military ‘business internet’ provided by is incapable of providing anywhere near the required bandwidth or reliability **, . At present, units are flying officers to Kabul, where reasonable quality (commercial) internet provision is available, or back to their regts in the UK/Germany, to undertake study/exams.

a. Military Knowledge Part 1 (MK1). MK1 is an online integrated military capability and technology package for completion prior to JOTAC and for promotion to captain. MK1 requires about 50 - 60 hours of study.

b. Military Knowledge Part 2 (MK2). MK2 is an electronic web-based distance-learning programme, completion of which is mandatory for promotion of DE officers to major. Combined with appropriate employment training, it prepares officers for senior captain/SO3 appointments and for attendance on ICSC(L). MK2 requires about 50 - 60 hours of study.

c. The Modular Masters Programme (MMP) . The MMP is the primary vehicle for CPD and personal development during Stage 2 of OCD (Full details at It provides personnel with the opportunity to attain a post-graduate qualification through a combination of accredited military education, training, experience and directed distance learning. Most MMP degrees explicitly require a broadband internet connection (For example, the King’s College London, War in the Modern World MA: ).

7. Non-Military Reasons. JDP 3-01, Welfare Support for Joint Operations states “keeping in contact with home by email and eBluey is an important requirement for personnel deployed on operations… Distance learning through the internet is increasingly important, and some in-service training courses are internet dependent. In addition to personal use, the internet offers many other uses such as access to newspapers…” The Prime Minister himself has stated that, “Universal internet access is vital ... it’s likely that the internet will be as ubiquitous and as normal as electricity is today.” (The Prime Minister, quoted in Connecting the UK: the Digital Strategy, March 2005, The Cabinet Office, available at )

10. Technical Options. There are 2 broad options: wired or wireless access. Cable installation into all UK Tier 2 accommodation was considered but dismissed as intrusive to the occupants (both to install and maintain), damaging to the buildings, very expensive for the contractors (and thus ultimately the users), and far less flexible. Infra, J6 and J2 concurred that the optimum solution would be wireless.

12. SkyDec – Requirements. SkyDec facilities, once set up, will be financially self-supporting, with their costs being met from the revenue generated by personnel choosing to subscribe to the service. They require, however, assistance in transporting their telecontainer from Kabul to KAF, and transporting equipment from the Netherlands or Germany to KAF. They would also seek a CONDO-style arrangement for the transport, welfare and insurance of their personnel while in theatre. These considerations notwithstanding, SkyDec envisage that installation could take place by the end of December 2006.


d. Option 4 – SkyDec. SkyDec currently provides wireless internet access to Dutch military personnel at KAF, and have considerable experience in this area. Their professionalism, and familiarity with the hardware, software and business aspects of wireless internet service provision has thus far impressed, and their proposal is strongly endorsed. While their request for assistance transporting personnel and equipment into theatre, and CONDO status, does require greater MOD involvement than options 1-3, it is suggested that the benefits to personnel more than compensate. This option is strongly recommended.


14. UK NSE(A) J1 is recommended to seek approval from PJHQ to engage with SkyDec for the provision of internet access in UK Tier 2 accommodation. PJHQ J1 would be requested to:

a. Grant SkyDec CONDO status (the relevant JSP 567 form is at Annex B).

b. Grant authority to transport SkyDec personnel and equipment to theatre.

c. Grant UK NSE(A) J1 DIRLAUTH to SkyDec for detailed implementation.


15. There is currently a disconnect between the doctrinally articulated aspiration that “once the operational situation allows, every individual should have access to the internet” , and the OWP-funded reality of 1 Paradigm terminal per 100 personnel. The solution proposed in this submission offers the opportunity to rectify the deficiency with minimal Defence commitment or resources, and PJHQ is strongly recommended to endorse it.

RTTS 913 ####
JOCS: MD7-#########

A. SkyDec Tier 2 accommodation internet proposal.
B. Authority to deploy contractors (from JSP 567, Annex C, Appendix 1).

*JDP 3-01, Welfare Support for Joint Operations, Annex 4B – Welfare Package Guidelines merely provides for “email and limited internet facilities”. Anyone who has used Paradigm internet facilities will confirm that they are indeed “limited”.

** “ has been universally slated. It is glacially slow at best (early morning and late at night) and utterly useless at worst (during the middle of the day). Any opportunity to withdraw it and replace it with a functional internet service would be unanimously welcomed.” – summary to UK NSE(A) HQ - Internet Requirements response sent to HQ JFCIS, dated 11 Nov 06.

Let me get this right. Nearly the whole of the Officer training package NOT based in Breacon is dependant on access to the Internet/Intranet and on being done in a given time frame, with no allowance for those officers actually having to work. And they can't access the sites they need to whilst on tour......

Do I need to say any more?

And trust someone to f**k up a welfare issue with petty minded whinging about money

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