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UAE to have 100% household broadband Internet penetration

May 1, 2014

The UAE is all set to be the first country in the world to have 100 per cent household broadband Internet penetration, a top official of Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) said, citing industry experts.

"Referring to the many statistical reports circling the industry also underlines the UAE's strong performance in the ICT arena. As 2013 drew to a close, the UAE witnessed a 30 per cent increase in broadband subscriptions from January 2011 to November 2013 and TRA's latest sector statistics indicate that the UAE currently has well over a million broadband subscribers," Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, director-general, TRA, said in his keynote speech at the UAE's first Huawei "Broader Way Forum-National Broadband Networks" — a brand new innovative platform — that places a focus on one of the most impactful technologies defining the modern era.

"Our association with Huawei will without doubt help us continue the broadband innovation in the UAE as an enabler of social and economic development both here and around the world," he said.

"The economic argument for prioritising broadband provision is undeniable, so is the positive social impact at stake when enabling greater numbers of people to have a fast, reliable and secure root of access to the Internet and in turn, the immeasurable amount of information and knowledge on offer. Creating a solid, well considered National Broadband Strategy is pivotal to progression in the 21st Century," Al Ghanim said.

TRA and Huawei joined forces in Broader Way Forum to support UAE government transformation to digital society top telecom leaders, analysts and consultants at the forum discussed how national broadband can drive socio-economic development.

During the forum, a series of dedicated panel session were held to investigate the role of national broadband networks in driving countries' transformation to a digital society. The role of broadband infrastructure in terms of GDP growth, job creation, and development of national services such as healthcare and education were amongst the key applications highlighted.

"In advancing the UAE's telecommunication and information technology industries, we recognise that expanding broadband access through a uniform, coherent national broadband strategy is of great importance," said Ghanim.

"Teaming up with leading organisations like Huawei and reputable industry research and consultancy firms, we have been able to create a collaborative discussion platform that combines global best practices with local market insights, and we remain committed to working with all entities in UAE to strengthen the pillars of our knowledge economy through world-class national broadband access."

Shiyaohong, president of Huawei Middle East, said: "Governments across the globe are going all out to build their next-generation information superhighways, with national broadband networks representing a significant yet vital investment in both economic competitiveness and social wellbeing. Like any major infrastructure project, understanding technology trends, consumer behaviour, and the demands of local businesses are all crucial to delivering e-services most efficiently. These are exactly the kinds of topics that we have addressed at this year's Broader Way Forum and which we believe will continue to drive the agenda for national broadband in the Middle East."

Forum organisers Huawei have worked on more than 20 announced national broadband projects worldwide with a market share of over 70 per cent. Successful initiatives have already been rolled out in countries such as Qatar, Malaysia, Singapore, and the UK.

"National Broadband is not just about the telecommunications sector but it is a community initiative to develop and innovate for sustainable social and economic growth," added panel moderator Paul Black, director of Telecoms and Media at IDC Middle East, Turkey & Africa.

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Source: Khaleej Times (United Arab Emirates)

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