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Ministry awaiting responses from telecom operators on broadband project

By Mohammad Ghazal - Jan 09,2013 - Last updated at Jan 09,2013

AMMAN— The Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (MoICT) on Wednesday said it is awaiting responses from the country’s telecom operators indicating whether they are willing to go into partnership with the government to complete the National Broadband Network project.

“If none of the Kingdom’s telecom operators show an interest in completing the project, the ministry will float a tender in February to complete a new phase of the project at a cost of JD30 million,” Minister of Industry and Trade and Minister of Information and Communications Technology Hatem Halawani told The Jordan Times.

The tender seeks to attract firms interested in executing the project, Halawani said, noting that the National Electric Power Company showed an interest in offering its infrastructure to facilitate the implementation of the project.

Last year, the Cabinet approved floating a new tender to go ahead with the project.

In February 2012, the government announced that it would establish a company to complete the implementation of the network, work on which was halted in 2008 when the Kingdom was affected by the global financial crisis.

About 35 per cent of the project has been completed so far at a total cost of $36 million.

In April, the MoICT gave mobile operators and Internet service providers one month to apply to become partners in the projected company.

Several firms showed interest in having a stake in the company, but no requests were officially submitted to the ministry, according to MoICT officials.

Work on the project started in 2003 with the aim of connecting all public schools and universities to a nationwide fibre optic network.

The project was expanded in 2007 to include government agencies, healthcare centres and hospitals.

Once the project is completed, residents of rural areas will have access to the Internet at schools connected to the network.

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