Muscat: Oman Broadband Company (OBC) is determined to provide affordable and fast broadband services to over 90 per cent of the Muscat Governorate subscribers by 2021, according to Said Al Mandhari, the company's chief executive officer.
"So far, we have covered about 25 per cent of Muscat but it has not been activated yet. It will be offered to the operators before the end of this year," Al Mandhari told the Times of Oman on the sidelines of a workshop held here on Monday.
The workshop entitled 'Integration and Partnership in Telecommunication Infrastructure and Broadband Projects' was held under the auspices of Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Futaisi, minister of transport and communications.
During the event, participants from different countries shared their experiences in the field of broadband networks and explored ways of enhancing cooperation between the authorities concerned to provide better services to citizens.
Al Mandhari said that the OBC started its activities early this year after the approval of the Council of Ministers to develop national broadband infrastructure through setting up strategies and devising master plans.
"We are seeking to expand our footprint all over Oman and not only in Muscat. So now we are in the process of finalising our initial master plan and expanding it through this workshop by expanding our partnership with electricity and gas providers whose networks are well distributed all over Oman."
"We plan to utilise this infrastructure to expedite our projects," the official said.
He said that currently 12.6 per cent of the population is using broadband services and the number of subscribers will increase after the implementation of the OBC's projects.
Broadband definitely contributes to the growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through creating new jobs, Al Mandhari noted, adding that the company is keen to deploy fibre optic cables and satellite connections as part of its plans.
Contribution to SMEs
According to Amer bin Awadh Al Rawas, Omantel's chief executive officer, one of the challenges facing broadband projects in Oman is the complex topography and the big size of the Sultanate compared to the neighbouring countries.
"For example, the population density in Qatar is 168 people, while it is 10 in Oman. So it is much more challenging to implement projects here," Al Rawas said.
Commenting on the contribution of broadband projects to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), Al Rawas said that these business units will be able to get faster internet at lower prices which will facilitate their activities.
Also SMEs will be involved in the implementation of the projects which means many jobs will be created, the official added.
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