New local Internet node in Lebanon is set to reinvigorate market
In Lebanon, only Ogero, the monopoly fixed services operator, can provide International Internet bandwidth to ISPs. Nevertheless, a lack of sufficient Internet bandwidth capacity has caused the ISPs to utilize private Internet download connections via satellite operators.
To remove the incentive of these connections and regain revenues, Ogero is moving ahead with plans to establish an Internet node that will pool the ISPs’ bandwidth requirements and provide them with their required symmetrical bandwidth at lower rates, which will enable them to offer their subscribers higher quality connections, reported the Arab Advisors Group. The tender for supplying the Internet node with international bandwidth is already in process and is expected to be finalized by summer 2003.
With an initial planned capacity of 90 mbps, the Internet node will enhance the total country’s bandwidth, allow for local exchange of traffic between ISPs and set the stage for launch of broadband ADSL service later this year. In a recent report, the Arab Advisors Group projects Lebanon’s total country bandwidth to reach 344 mbps by 2007.
“Internet figures in Lebanon are quite impressive by regional standards. The subscriber base was 150,000 by end of the year 2002 -corresponding to an estimated user base of around 450,000, a user penetration of more than 11.8 percent.” Arab Advisors Group’s senior research analyst, Sami Sunna’, wrote in the report.
“The Internet node is planned to have a total bandwidth capacity of 90 Mbps (two nodes with a capacity of 45 Mbps each via fiber optic links) and will cater for all of the incumbent ISPs in Lebanon and interconnect them locally. The upgrade in the total Internet bandwidth will allow for the future growth in broadband Internet services. In fact, the upgrade will allow leading ISPs to provide broadband services such as the high-bandwidth ADSL service that Ogero expects to start rolling out in Lebanon by end of year 2003. This will reinvigorate the ISP business and raise Internet access revenues to more than $64 million in 2007 up from less than $ 33 million in 2002,” Sunna’.
On the datacomm front, The Lebanese Ministry Of Telecommunications provided a number of fixed wireless network licenses to a number of operators for a validity period of five to six years during the late 90’s. This means that fixed infrastructure-based competition was allowed by the MOT through wireless networks: Private operators are already allowed to compete with the fixed line operator (Ogero) in non-voice services although they are limited to using wireless technologies. Companies requiring copper or FO based leased lines and connectivity still have to purchase it from the fixed services operator. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)