Oman to Invest USD1.17 Billion to Upgrade Telecom Networks

Sultanate of Oman will be spending around 1.17 billion USD over a period of 10 years to improve telecommunication services in all its governorates. The government authorities realize the importance of modernizing its telecommunication networks as the economic progress of the country is linked with technological development.

Technology touches people’s everyday lives and is essential for economic development, so the Sultanate is developing the infrastructure in this field, Salim Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, chief executive officer of Oman’s Information Technology Authority (ITA), said on Tuesday.

He made the comment after inaugurating the seventh edition of the FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) Council Mena (the Middle East and North Africa) Conference, attended by Ahmed Al Futaisi, minister of transport and communications, and a number of other officials and experts at Grand Hyatt Hotel.

The FTTH Council Mena is an industry organization with a mission to accelerate the adoption of FTTH adoption by all broadband stakeholders through information and promotion, in order to accelerate the availability of fiber-based, ultra-high-speed access networks to consumers and businesses.

Al Ruzaiqi said that the digital Oman strategy is being carried out with a focus on the development of social information, e-government, economy, and infrastructure as well as the continuity of the developments.

He also noted that according to the United Nations (UN) e-government survey 2014, Oman has improved in the global ranking and stands at 48th place in terms of e-readiness.

Speaking to reporters after the event, the official said that the objective is to expand fiber optic services and increase the broadband penetration, speed and accessibility as it will help facilitate business activities and increase the gross domestic product (GDP)

It was mentioned in the conference that some studies show for each 10 percent increase in broadband penetration, GDP increases by 1 percent.

In a speech, Suleiman Al Hedaithy, chairman of FTTH Council Mena hailed the Omani government’s efforts and interest in the national broadband strategy, over which OMR450 million is being spent during the next 10 years to improve communications services across various governorates.

Ebrahim Al Haddad, regional director of the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) Arab Regional Office, said that ICT plays an important role in various fields, including health, education, and the environment.

The conference saw a panel of experts presenting their views on the key drivers for developing a national broadband strategy and giving attendees insight into the best practices for economic development and the strategic role played by the ICT industry in the process.

The FTTH Council MENA also announced their plans to hold the 8th edition of their annual conference in Tunisia in 2016.

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