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Cisco ‘working closely’ with gov’t to accelerate implementation of national broadband network

By Mohammad Ghazal - Feb 23,2015 - Last updated at Feb 23,2015

AMMAN — Cisco Systems is working closely with Jordan to accelerate implementation of the national broadband network and implement projects in the e-health, e-education and e-services fields, according to a senior company executive.

“Jordan is on top of the agenda for Cisco. We are keen to implement more projects in Jordan and will increase our cooperation with the government to speed up the implementation of projects in different areas,” Ziad Salameh, managing director at Cisco Gulf, Levant, Iraq and Pakistan, told The Jordan Times in a recent interview.

Cisco Systems is keen on optimally utilising Jordanian talent in the ICT sphere, Salameh said on the sidelines of the Cisco Connect conference in Dubai last week.

More than 1,200 regional business and technology leaders, decision makers and industry experts took part in the event.

The US-based company said it is currently working with the government to examine means of cooperation to accelerate the implementation of the national broadband network, which seeks to provide high-speed connectivity between public facilities, hospitals, schools and agencies.

“We are involved with the government in this project and are looking into how we can help speed up the completion of the project, which is very fundamental for advancing the ICT sector and all e-services in different fields,” Salameh added.

“The completion of the long-awaited project will help make it easier to boost e-health and e-education in the Kingdom. Many advanced technologies and services rely on this project,” he said.

Last year, the government committed $209 million to complete the project, which was initiated in 2003 but halted several times due to lack of funds.

Salameh noted that the completion of the project, coupled with the provision of fourth generation services in the market, will help Jordan implement its ICT strategy that seeks to increase Internet penetration to 85 per cent by the end of 2017, increase investments in the field from $250 million currently to $450 million and raise the sector’s annual revenues from around $2.5 billion currently to some $3.15 billion.

“Fourth generation, which was recently launched in Jordan, will play an important role in increasing connectivity. More connectivity results in the need for more services and economic growth, and creates new business opportunities which will help create jobs and attract investments,” he explained. 

Internet penetration in the Kingdom stands at 73 per cent at present, while smartphone penetration exceeds 65 per cent, according to official figures.

“We will continue to support Jordan and work with the government on different projects and at the same time we believe that public private partnerships are necessary to help implement several ICT projects and further advance the Kingdom in this respect,” Salameh said.

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