Morocco to develop ultra-fast broadband
By Rachid Jankari for Magharebia in Casablanca – 23/08/12
As part of a new technological trend, the Moroccan government has decided to adopt a ten-year national plan to develop ultra-fast broadband connections.
"Specifically, the ultra-fast broadband plan, which has been approved by the government, will give the entire population access to telecommunication services within ten years – that is, by 2022," said National Telecommunications Regulation Agency (ANRT) chief Azzeddine El Mountassir Billah.
The ANRT will implement the ambitious plan in two phases. The first phase will involve a number of aspects, including the rollout of 4G mobile technologies from 2014 onwards and opening up the Wi-Fi band to telecom operators with a view to providing access to outdoor high-speed networks.
In parallel, ANRT plans to launch pilot projects to give housing estates access to fibre-optic cabling and establish procedures for connecting new developments to telecom networks. This emphasis on boosting fibre-optic coverage stems from the fact that telecom networks currently cover just the main urban areas but not remote parts of the country.
The second phase of the 2022 ultra-fast broadband project will focus on two aspects. Firstly, telecom networks will be boosted so that they offer better service quality for the various data networks and good connectivity between networks in different built-up areas and backhaul networks. Secondly, it will explore a variety of technological solutions to speed up the process of expanding access to high-speed networks.
"The implementation of this nationwide plan will include legal and regulatory measures to encourage the sharing of infrastructures and pooling of investment," said Billah.
The regulatory body also plans to update the legal framework, including Law no. 24-96 on postal services and telecoms, as well as decrees concerning the use of networks and antitrust litigation.
At present, virtually the entire population of Morocco is covered by 2G mobile networks with more than 37.4 million active mobile lines and a penetration rate of 115%. Mobile broadband (3G) services are also available in big cities. There are now more than 3.7 million internet users in Morocco, 83% of whom use 3G internet services and 17% of whom use high-speed internet.
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