Gulf states urged to lower Internet charges

ICDL says reduced rates key to success of smart government initiatives

Tags: BahrainICDL GCC FoundationOmanQatarSaudi ArabiaUnited Arab Emirates
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Gulf states urged to lower Internet charges ICDL said governments should bring down high data service rates to make them affordable for all. (Getty Images)
By  Andy Sambidge Published  March 30, 2014

A key organisation that promotes digital skills and cyber safety in the Gulf, has called for Internet charges to be reduced in the region to encourage a higher take-up of smart services.

ICDL GCC Foundation said lower prices were important to broaden the adoption of Smart Government services, launched recently in a number of GCC states.

"Lower Internet charges will undoubtedly promote the subscription of data packages by the masses, which is highly important for Smart and e-Services to reach out to each and every member of society," the organisation said in a statement.

ICDL has lauded the efforts undertaken by regional governments toward building an integrated digital system, which is accompanied with the aim to boost the Smart Government's e- and m-services.

It said regional governments have registered their highest levels of ICT investment in 2013, with Kuwait taking the lead at $28bn followed by Saudi Arabia at $4.8bn. Qatar and the UAE take third and fourth place with a total spending of $3bn and $2.7bn, respectively.

But ICDL also pointed out that governments should take effective measures to bring down the high data service rates to make them more affordable for all Internet users.

According to a recent study conducted by the ICDL GCC Foundation, the rates for data service in the GCC are still high in comparison with other countries and diverse among each other as well.

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