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Ogero plans Lebanese bandwidth boost

Lebanese fixed monopoly operator Ogero is planning to establish a local internet node, in a move expected to boost the bandwidth available to internet service providers (ISPs) and reinvigorate the country’s internet market.

Lebanese fixed monopoly operator Ogero is planning to establish a local internet node, in a move expected to boost the bandwidth available to internet service providers (ISPs) and reinvigorate the country’s internet market.

According to the Arab Advisors Group, Ogero has already opened a tender for the supply of international bandwidth to the node, which is expected to be completed this summer.

The operator hopes the move will allow it to regain revenues from the Lebanese ISPs that have been forced to turn to satellite operators for connections because of the current shortfall of bandwidth in the Lebanon.

According to Sami Sunna, Arab Advisors senior research analyst, the move will meet the needs of all the incumbent Lebanese ISPs, giving them bandwidth at lower rates and enabling them to offer subscribers higher quality connections.

With an initial planned capacity of 90Mbps through two 45Mbps fibre optic links, the node will pool the requirements of ISPs, as well as laying the foundation for the rollout of broadband services later in the year.

“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 year-end 2003. This will reinvigorate the ISP business and raise internet access revenues to more than US$64 million in 2007, up from less than US$33 million in 2002,” he adds.

Sunna predicts that Lebanon’s total bandwidth will reach 344Mbps by 2007. As for penetration, he says Lebanon’s figures are “quite impressive” by regional standards.

“The [Lebanese] subscriber base was 150,000 by end of year 2002, corresponding to an estimated user base of around 450,000 - a user penetration of 11.8%,” he says.

The Lebanese Ministry of Telecommunications provided a number of five to six-year fixed wireless licences to operators in the late 1990’s. This brought competition into the non-voice fixed market, although companies are limited to using wireless technology and must purchase copper or fibre optic leased lines from Ogero.

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