With digital connectivity proving a key driver of national development worldwide, Huawei-a leading global ICT solutions provider-in association with the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) welcomed senior-level stakeholders from the UAE’s public sector as well as top analysts, telecom industry leaders, and consultancy firms to examine how national broadband initiatives will transform the region’s socio-economic landscape in the years ahead.
Convening at the UAE’s first Huawei Broader Way Forum, the full-day conference focused on the emergence of national broadband networks which have been embraced by governments around the world-including several initial projects in the Middle East-as a tool for driving economic competitiveness by providing universal high-speed communication services to the public.
During the forum, a series of dedicated panel session were held to investigate the role of national broadband networks in driving countries’ transformation to a digital society. The role of broadband infrastructure in terms of GDP growth, job creation, and development of national services such as healthcare and education were amongst the key applications highlighted.
“In advancing the UAE’s telecommunication and information technology industries, we recognize that expanding broadband access through a uniform, coherent national broadband strategy is of great importance,” says H.E. Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, Director General, TRA. “Teaming up with leading organizations like Huawei and reputable industry research and consultancy firms, we have been able to create a collaborative discussion platform that combines global best practices with local market insights, and we remain committed to working with all entities in UAE to strengthen the pillars of our knowledge economy through world-class national broadband access.”
“Governments across the globe are going all out to build their next-generation information superhighways, with national broadband networks representing a significant yet vital investment in both economic competitiveness and social wellbeing,” says Mr. Shiyaohong, President of Huawei Middle East. “Like any major infrastructure project, understanding technology trends, consumer behavior, and the demands of local businesses are all crucial to delivering e-services most efficiently. These are exactly the kinds of topics that we have addressed at this year’s Broader Way Forum and which we believe will continue to drive the agenda for national broadband in the Middle East.”
Taking best practices from around the world, participants shared insights on how governments and businesses can work together to maximize the public value of national broadband policies and the advanced services to be provided to businesses and individuals.
Forum organizers Huawei have worked on more than 20 announced national broadband projects worldwide with a market share of over 70%. Successful initiatives have already been rolled out in countries such as Qatar, Malaysia, Singapore, and the UK.
“National Broadband is not just about the telecommunications sector but it is a community initiative to develop and innovate for sustainable social and economic growth,” adds panel moderator Paul Black, Director of Telecoms and Media at IDC Middle East, Turkey & Africa.
Considering the diversity of stakeholders involved in planning such infrastructure-from governments and telecom operators to other third parties-the forum concluded by exploring how best to cultivate public investment for national broadband networks, and how such services are likely to be delivered commercially to the public in the coming years.
Market intelligence firm IDC has anticipated that the Middle East will feature among the fastest growing ICT markets in the world with spending topping $96 billion in 2014. The telecoms industry will be a significant sector for such investment, while improving government services, education and healthcare will also be key drivers in the Gulf.
Ahead of the Dubai Expo 2020 in particular, its themes of sustainability, mobility and opportunity are concepts in which ICT infrastructure is expected to play a major role. Dubai’s foreign trade is already anticipated to touch AED 4 trillion by hosting Expo 2020, with the government likely to continue spending on infrastructure that promotes more businesses and investment to come to the UAE.
Broader Way Forum Speakers
- Saif Bin Ghelaita, Director of Technology Development Affairs, TRA UAE
- Mohamed Al Ramsi, Director of Infrastructure & Standards, TRA UAE
- Fintan Healy, Executive Director Regulatory Affairs, TRA UAE
- Ihab Ghattas, Assistant Regional President, Huawei Middle East
- Rafat Tashman, Senior Technology Consultant, Huawei Middle East
- Stewart White, CEO at Akhet Consulting
- Nicolas Dunais, Manager, Telecom Policy, Analysys Mason
- Thomas Kuruvilla, Managing Director of ME Operations, Arthur D. Little
- Andrew R Campbell, Managing Director, Campbell & Company
- Santino Saguto, Partner – Consulting, Deloitte & Touche
- Tariq Al Bahri, Vice President /Regulatory Affairs, du
- Yogesh Sharma, Vice President /Regulatory Economics, Etisalat
- Ivan Skenderoski, Managing partner, Salience
- Graeme Lowther, Managing Partner, Salience
- George Salama, Senior Manager of Public Policy, SAMENA Council
- Dr. Eesa Bastaki, President, University of Dubai
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