Dubai Internet City (DIC) is an information technology park created by the government of Dubai as a free economic zone and a strategic base for companies targeting regional emerging markets. The economic rules of DIC allow companies to avail themselves of a number of ownership, taxation and custom related benefits which are guaranteed by law for a period of 50 years. One model of operation includes 100% foreign ownership, similar to those prevailing in other designated economic zones in the United Arab Emirates.
These freedoms have led many global information technology firms, such as Microsoft, IBM, Oracle Corporation, Infor Global Solutions, Sun Microsystems, Cisco, HP, Nokia, Cognizant and Siemens, as well as UAE based companies such as i-mate, Acette, to move their regional base to the DIC. DIC is located adjacent to other industrial clusters such as Dubai Media City and Dubai Knowledge Village. DIC presently has over one and half million square feet of prime commercial office space, in which over 850 companies with over 10,000 workers are based.
On 13 April 2008, du (EITC) announced that all of its traffic would be routed via the UAE's censorship proxy which blocks access to any content deemed 'inappropriate'. du had been previously blocking VOIP services. While Dubai Internet City sells itself as a business-friendly environment with excellent low cost connectivity, the reality is one of a heavily censored internet with prices that are 5-10 times the price of connectivity in Europe or the USA. In addition to webpage censorship, it is speculated that a variety of popular social networking services are blocked. Cheap calls to the UAE are not possible due to a termination charge of around 17p UK, (around 30 US cents) per minute imposed by the UAE phone networks.
Internet connectivity in Dubai is expensive; a 0.5mbit home connection costs around 200 AED per month (about 45 USD). The minimum internet connectivity package available for businesses at DIC is a 2mbit connection with a 6GB monthly limit for around 800 AED (180 USD). Bandwidth beyond the 6GB limit is charged at a higher pro-rata rate than the first 6GB.
Dubai Internet City, like the whole of Dubai, has seen rapid growth, with the Emirate's GDP rising at double digit rates. However, since 2003 inflation has climbed rapidly too, making real GDP growth significantly lower. The latest official government figures (2006) state inflation of 9.6%. By spring 2008, the level is somewhere over 10%, and approaching 20% according to the estimates of some international banks.