Oct. 25--AMMAN -- Cisco Systems, Inc. has expressed interest in partnering with other companies in Jordan to help implement the National Broadband Network for which the government will soon float tenders.
"Jordan is one of the countries in the Middle East where we are interested to be partners in implementing projects that help improve e-health and e-education services, and we are interested in this project, which is vital to the Jordanian economy," Tarek Ghoul, general manager, director of the Gulf, Levant and Pakistan at Cisco, said this week.
"King Abdullah and Queen Rania are so supportive of integrating technology in the educational system and the health sector in Jordan, and this encourages us to be involved in such projects in Jordan," Ghoul told The Jordan Times on the sidelines of GITEX Technology Week 2013 in Dubai, which concluded Thursday.
"We were part of the initial phases of the project and we will be partners in upcoming phases of the scheme," he noted.
Jordan was one of the first countries in the region that Cisco Systems worked with to introduce e-health projects and connect hospitals, he said.
"We have an open appetite for Jordan, and we will continue working with the government and our partners to help upgrade the infrastructure," Ghoul added.
ICT Minister Azzam Sleit on Thursday said that the government will soon float tenders to complete the project.
"We have allocated the necessary funds for the project and according to the tender, it will be completed in three years. This is our deadline and the project will be operational after the three-year period," the minister told reporters.
Some of the governorates in the central region have already been connected to the network, which seeks to link all public schools, healthcare centres, universities and public entities to a nationwide fibre optic network, he said.
"The tender will seek to cover the southern and the northern regions," Sleit added.
The project, which will be open for local and international companies, will save a "large amount" of money currently spent on connecting to the Internet, the minister noted.
The project is important for Jordan's financial, administrative and information reform, he added.
Ghoul said the project is key to Jordan becoming a leader in e-health and e-education services, a matter that would positively reflect on the development of the Kingdom and the empowerment of human resources.
"The better the infrastructure is in Jordan, the better the services will be and the faster the economy grows," he noted.
Cisco Systems Inc., which employs some 78,000 persons worldwide and has annual revenues of around $52 billion, is committed to working with and supporting Jordan," Ghoul said during
GITEX, which attracted more than 139,000 ICT professionals from 144 countries, according to organisers.
Meanwhile, Ghoul said governments in the region should increase spending on ICT projects, noting that more investments in the field will have positive returns on the economy.
The ICT sector in Jordan contributes about 14 per cent annually to the country's gross domestic product, according to official figures.
Reducing prices of broadband Internet, he said, will also play a key role in increasing the number of Internet users, which will eventually lead to more economic growth.
"Telecom operators are not likely to invest in broadband [to] reach remote areas, so it is the government's job to do so and the National Broadband Project in Jordan is a good example of this," Ghoul added.
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