Fibre network key to economic growth
Riyadh, June 11, 2013
Governments and regulators must move decisively to fibre network in the region, to support future economic growth, according to a recent report.
The Arthur D. Little (ADL) report “National Fiber Strategies: National economic imperative or just another private industry task?” said Saudi Arabia is among the least developed GCC countries when it comes to fibre deployment, and despite the on-going work of key fibre players such as STC and Mobily, a lot of work still has to be done.
“Government should make fibre infrastructure a national priority,” says Dr Karim Taga, managing partner and global practice leader, ADL Time practice. “This means devising new ways of financing and promoting future deployment in order to catch up with neighboring countries in the GCC.”
Clear economic benefits such as new jobs and a permanent boost to GDP will be gained by improving broadband infrastructure. Ultra-fast broadband also drives critical diversification of economies, as SMEs are among the first to benefit from new services. Whole fibre or mainly fibre networks are needed for the fastest fixed access services and to underpin the micro layer of the latest mobile backhaul networks.
These benefits need vast investment. Some GCC countries are already ranked as global leaders in connecting homes to their FTTH networks, following huge investment by existing operators.
Although this is bringing increasing visibility to the region in global discussions on high-speed broadband infrastructure deployment, the Middle East still has significant challenges to overcome that require intensive government participation.
Based on a global market survey, ADL has identified five National Fibre models that governments around the globe have followed to reap the benefits from fibre. It has concluded that the most promising fibre strategy models involve a hybrid approach, a combination of free market competition, graded government coordination and geographically-targeted public investment open to competitive bid.
“Governments should ensure the right regulation and control so that funding can maximize the economic impact,” said Taga.
“Choosing a National Fibre strategy is about identifying the best model for specific national market conditions and applying that model well.” - TradeArabia News Service
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