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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Qatar advances on high-speed fiber internet rollout

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Nearly a quarter of homes in Qatar are now enjoying high-speed fiber internet, as installation teams work to lay the proper cables to bring the service to the rest of the nation.

Though the government-owned Qatar National Broadband Network has technically been tasked with managing the development of the fiber network, telecom provider Ooredoo appears to be leading the charge with its rollout.

Speaking to Doha News, an Oooredoo spokesman said that some 64 percent of households in Qatar are now “within the fiber area,” while 23 percent of households have actually had the service activated.

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The areas that have already had fiber cabling laid include Al Hilal, Al Saad, Abu Hamour, Al Waab, Al Markhiya, Al Wakrah and Al Wakair.

Work has also begun to bring fiber to the Al Rayyan and Umm Salal Muhammed areas. Notably, those living in the older parts of town, including Ras Abu Abboud, Musherib and Old Al Salata, will not fall within the fiber area until February 2014.

Track Ooredoo’s map of fiber progress here.

Vodafone

Meanwhile, Vodafone Qatar teamed up with QNBN to roll out fiber at Barwa City. All residents there should already have access to the high-speed internet service, a Vodafone spokesman said.

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Beyhum added that QNBN is also currently covering the West Bay/Dafna area and Al Shamal with fiber. The Pearl-Qatar and Lusail City is also expected to fall under its mandate.

Track that progress here.

Deadlines

According to Beyhum, the reason Ooredoo is undertaking the fiber rollout independently is because it began the initiative before QNBN launched in 2011.

However, negotiations are ongoing for who will preside over the network once the entire country is blanketed in fiber. Beyhum said QNBN would work with Ooredoo and possibly compensate them for laying the infrastructure to avoid duplication of efforts and investments.

Similarly, the two telecom providers would pay QNBN to provide services on its network. He emphasized that no compensation models have yet been finalized in Qatar.

Both telecom providers – and any new entrants to the market – would then be free to “focus on what they do best – providing service, innovation, and customer care,” he said.

Earlier this year, an international report credited Qatar, which has listed high-speed internet as a priority in the 2030 Vision, for having the world’s fastest fiber rollout in 2012. But the actual activation of the internet service appears to be taking some time.

And while Ooredoo said it is on-track to meet its 2014 goal of rolling out fiber across the country, it has not set a deadline for bringing residents online. According to the spokesman:

Ooredoo is continuing activations in all areas where fiber is available and is looking to connect customers as quickly as possible. There’s no overall activation deadline, because of issues related to access to people’s homes, change of occupants, etc.

However, QNBN has promised that 95 percent of Qatar’s homes and 100 percent of businesses should be able to use fiber by 2015. Beyhum added that residents should be able to mix and match internet, television, telephone and other broadband services from the two providers before that deadline.

Do you have high-speed internet yet? Thoughts?

Note: This article has been updated to reflect that negotiations between QNBN and the two telecom providers over network usage are ongoing. It has also been amended to say the status of fiber internet on the Pearl remains unclear.

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