DUBAI — The UAE has surged ahead of Hong Kong and Japan to secure the second spot as the most fibre-optic connected nation globally, UAE telecoms operator etisalat said on Wednesday.
At this pace of growth, the UAE is expected to be the leader and the first country in the world to have 100 per cent household broadband Internet penetration very soon, experts said.
A research by FTTH Council Europe shows that around 56 per cent of premises in the UAE have been deployed with fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) technology by the end of 2011. The UAE had jumped two places to be ranked second globally in terms of deployment of FTTH, ahead of all the major developed economies.
South Korea is at the first spot with nearly 58 per cent of households in the country on fiber.
Currently, other than the UAE, no other country within the GCC features in the top 30 FTTH list.
UAE fibre-optics speed past HK and Japan to No. 2 spot “The UAE is soon expected to be the leader and the first country in the world to have 100 per cent household broadband Internet penetration through fiber-optic technology. Almost all the FTTH connections in the country have been provided by the telecom giant, etisalat,” said Frost & Sullivan.
Ali Alahmed, chief corporate communications officer at etisalat said, the achievement has been a result of huge investments in developing the telecom infrastructure of the country, amounting to nearly Dh6 billion in 2011.
“By the start of 2012, FTTH has covered about 56 per cent of households in the UAE, and has made Abu Dhabi the world’s first fiber-connected capital city,” he said at a forum organised by the Ministry of Education.
“Through its FTTH network, etisalat has introduced the fastest Internet broadband at 30Mbps for residential customers through eLife services and 100Mbps for businesses,” said Alahmed.
He said the FTTH service has benefitted various industry sectors, including banks, healthcare and education, which are direct beneficiaries of these technological advancements.
The number of fiber-networked premises in the UAE increased by more than 27 per cent in 2011 to 56 per cent in 2012 compared to 30.89 per cent in the previous year.
In 2011 the UAE was ranked fourth behind Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong.
In his paper titled ‘Etisalat efforts to support and develop the education sector in UAE: Technology for Education’, Alahmed outlined the key initiatives introduced by etisalat to support the nation’s education sector.
He said establishing the Etisalat Academy in 2000 and the Etisalat University College in 1989 were vital to the local qualified engineers in telecommunications and ancillary businesses. About 1,400 employees underwent training courses at the academy in 2011, while 508 engineers and technicians graduated from the academy before joining the Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research, he said.