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Gulf improves broadband quality, penetration

Cisco-sponsored study puts Qatar and the UAE as eighth in the world for broadband quality

Gulf improves broadband quality, penetration
Qatar and the UAE have made leaps forward in broadband quality according to the Broadband Quality Report, sponsored by Cisco.

The United Arab Emirates and Qatar have ranked eighth in the world for broadband quality, according to a new study, with the UAE moving up four places since 2009.

The UAE also ranked top in MENA countries for scaled broadband quality and penetration in the Broadband Quality Study, conducted by the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford and the University of Oviedo’s Department of Applied Economics. The report is sponsored by Cisco.

The new findings are in direct contrast with last year’s report, which stated that Gulf countries did not have high enough quality broadband services to meet today’s demand. [last year’s report].

The Broadband Quality Score (BQS) uses the combined download throughput, upload throughput, and latency capabilities of a connection to create a single Broadband Quality Score for each country. This score is then combined with the broadband penetration figures for each country, enabling researchers to map out the countries with the best combination of broadband quality and penetration.

The researchers set a low end BQS limit of 30 to be able to handle today's applications such as file sharing, social networks and video streaming, while next generation applications over the coming three to five years, such as HD video streaming, telepresence and visual networking, would require a score of 50.

“The first Broadband Quality Study was published in September 2008 to highlight each country’s ability to benefit from the Internet applications of today and tomorrow. Now with three years’ worth of data, the study can really prove the speed at which a country with the right investment and focus can become a global broadband leader and exploit the many benefits that come with broadband leadership,” said Wayne Hull, director and general manager, Cisco UAE.

The biggest jumps in broadband penetration, according to the study, are in the UAE, Malta, Cyprus, Ireland and Greece. The UAE had 88.18% penetration in 2009 and now has 100% penetration.

“By delivering better access to education, healthcare and in-home services through high-quality broadband, the UAE is fast becoming a leader in connected communities, using the network as the platform to provide a better quality of life for citizens and economic development,” said Hull.


South Korea has made the biggest move in Broadband Leadership moving up by 23%, followed by Latvia, the UAE, and Japan.

Qatar topped the list of Stage 1 to 2 Economies, with a score of 106. Algeria fell at the bottom with a score of 31.

Bahrain topped the list of stage 2 to 3 Economies, with a score of 100, placing it amongst the broadband leaders of the world, while Russia came at the bottom of this group with a score of 50.

14 countries were judges to be future application ready, compared to just nine last year and one in 2008. There are no Middle Eastern countries in the technology-ready 14.

Globally, broadband quality has improved by 50% during the three years of the Cisco sponsored study, and according to the results, almost 49% of households in the 72 countries and 239 cities that participated in the study, have access to broadband. This figure is up from 40% in 2008.

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