Broadband subscriptions in the UAE have passed the one-million mark, registering a 30% increase between January 2011 and November 2013, Gulf News reports, citing figures from the latest statistical release by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.
TRA's figures were presented by its director general Mohammad Nasser Al Ganem at the global launch of the World Bank's latest report regarding broadband penetration, speed and prices in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The report revealed that broadband access in the Emirates is amongst the most affordable in MENA, costing less than 1% of the monthly disposable income there.
Among the other highlights of the report were the fact that a 10% increase in broadband penetration contributes 1.4% to gross domestic product growth and, consequently, creates new job opportunities. Also, it estimated that investments of some $25 billion are needed to expand the broadband infrastructure in the Arab states.
One of the authors of the report, Michel Rogy, Information and Communication Technology policy advisor at the World Bank, commented that the UAE has one of the best broadband penetration rates in the region and that it was a leader in fibre optics, but pointed out that it is not enough to have the infrastructure but few government policies promoting the opening of more jobs in the information and communications technology sector.
Al Ganem, for his part, said he is not surprised by the UAE's leading position in terms of fibre optic infrastructure, and added that this high rate of penetration is moving the Emirates closer to the transformation of cities into smart cities.
Julian Frankum | Managing Director MEA