Earlier this month, Sheikh Hessa Al Jaber, secretary-general of ictQatar, the country's communications regulator, announced the goal of creating a broadband national backbone that offers minimum access speeds in excess of 50Mbps. Speaking at the 17th International Conference on Telecommunications, held in Doha, she said that ictQatar is committed to building next-generation broadband that is accessible and affordable to all.
But it's not just delivering improved broadband to consumers that is on the regulator's mind. Currently, 63% of Qatar's households are connected to broadband networks with minimum access speeds of 1Mbps but ictQatar wants to see greater bandwidth available to support the economy.
"By 2030, Qatar aims to be an advanced society capable of sustaining its development and providing a high standard of living for its people," said Al Jaber. "The embedded pillar to achieve this vision is certainly information technology, which plays a pivotal role in any journey towards a knowledge economy."
To that end, ictQatar recognises that a pragmatic, rather than monolithic strategy is required and expects a blend of fixed and wireless technologies to be deployed to ensure national broadband coverage.
Although no timeframe has been given for the completion of this capacity, it is clear that the regulator regards it as a fundamental means of boosting the country's economy. "The availability of affordable, fast and reliable connectively is an important lever and enabler to stimulate investments in new businesses," added Al-Jaber.
After a Masters in Computer Science, I decided that I preferred writing about IT rather than programming. My 20-year writing career has taken me to Hong Kong and London where I've edited and written for IT, business and electronics publications. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Stewart Baines where I continue to write about a range of topics such as unified communications, cloud computing and enterprise applications.