Arab Advisors conference gathers key ICT players

Jordan ICT minister puts spotlight on convergence and liberal regulatory environment

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By  Derek Francis in Jordan Published  June 2, 2008

The 5th annual Arab Advisors Group Conference 2008 has kicked off, with His Excellency Eng. Bassam Al Roussain, Jordan's Minister of ICT, putting a focus on convergence.

As well as paying tribute to the organisers of the event, he opened the conference by pointing to liberal ICT policies from the Jordanian government, including a low-cost laptop financing scheme, which have further opened up the ICT sector. Roussain also said convergence would open doors to new opportunities.

"I would like to congratulate the Arab Advisors Group on the growing success of this event," said Roussain. "Consider where we were a few years ago; you would not imagine watching mobile TV on your small screen. [Now there is also] real-time multimedia and cross-platform gaming," he added. "What received a lot of hype in the past few years is now our converged reality. Convergence is producing offerings that meet real customer needs."

Roussain also said that amid the rapid development of technology, governments in the region need to "further enable the liberalisation of their regulatory environments". Jordan is widely considered to have the most liberal of telecoms sectors in the Arab world, with no censorship, many market players and healthy competition.

However, the country plans to improve further, with the Ministry of ICT planning to deploy a national broadband network and offering high-speed fibre-optic connections to 300 public schools. As well as offering additional bandwidth, Roussain said the Ministry also plays a critical role in enhancing the international gateway capacity.

The Arab Advisors Group conference is being held at the Four Seasons Hotel, Amman, Jordan, between 2-3 June.

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