Saudi providers embark on FTTH provision

25 February 2020 | Melanie Mingas

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A new open access initiative in Saudi Arabia has seen the country’s six telecom providers sign an infrastructure sharing agreement, paving the way for FTTH broadband services, independent of fibre infrastructure ownership.

The development is set to boost choice and access for consumers by allowing them to use any subscriber-selected service provider. Three million households are expected to benefit. It will also provide a boost for industry stakeholders, by increasing subscriptions.

Initiated by the telecoms regulator, Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC), the agreement included both access seekers and access providers. It was signed on 23 February by STC, Mobily, Zain, Etihad Atheeb Telecom (GO), Integrated Telecom Company (ITC) and Integrated Dawiyat.

Mohammed Al Tamimi, governor of the CITC, said: “The adoption of an open-access model will increase the use of our fibre-optic infrastructure through the development of commercial agreements that make it easier for subscribers to move from one provider to another.”

The news comes as Saudi Arabia’s internet penetration rate reached 93%, according to the International Telecommunication Union, compared to a global average of 53%.