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Bahrain TRA begins work on third National Telecoms Plan

Third National Telecommunications Plan will aim to increase broadband, improve international capacity and enhance safety

The National Telecommunications Plan is intended to support strong social and economic development in the Kingdom, says Al Amer.
The National Telecommunications Plan is intended to support strong social and economic development in the Kingdom, says Al Amer.

Bahrain's Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has started work to implement the country's third National Telecommunications Plan, which has just been approved by the Council of Ministers.

The plan, which covers the three years to 2015, includes provisions for more high speed broadband for businesses and consumers; better and cheaper international connectivity and measures to prevent misuse of communications and protect critical infrastructure.

"The Government's vision for the telecommunications sector in this Plan emphasizes the importance of the telecommunications sector in enabling strong social and economic development in the Kingdom of Bahrain," said Dr Mohammed Al Amer, chairman of the TRA.

"The Government believes that in order to achieve this ambitious Plan infrastructure investments must be made, work to remove the remaining barriers that hinder competition in the telecommunications market should continue, and updates to the legal and regulatory environment should be made to face the challenges ahead," he added.

The plan includes the creation of a national broadband network based on fibre optic cables, to provide businesses with data transfer speeds of up to 1 Gbps and residential premises with 100 Mbps, along with licensing of appropriate radio frequencies to deliver high-speed mobile broadband.

Bahrain authorities will also look to access more competitive markets for international capacity, and remove any barriers to supply of capacity. The TRA will also work to ensure local internet information exchange is carried out within the country, to improve efficiency and reduce costs of local information being exchanged outside Bahrain.

The TRA also said that "to ensure the safe use of telecommunications services some measures will be introduced," and that a Critical National Infrastructure with mechanisms to provide continuous security posture review, improve regional and global collaboration in digital security, and put in place the necessary early warning and outreach mechanisms of digital threats.

Mohamed Bubashait, general director of the TRA commented: "The desired results of the implementation of the third National Telecommunications Plan are to create new opportunities for investment and employment, promote a new era of services for consumers, and extend services beyond communications and entertainment to include education and personal development, which all contribute to the enhancement of the Kingdom's economy and social welfare.

"Actions supported by a regulatory, institutional and legal framework that recognises current and foreseeable circumstances and developments within telecommunications and related sectors will be taken, which contribute to both the perceived competitiveness of Bahrain in the global economy and its attractiveness to investors.

"As consumers increasingly use telecommunications services we need to make sure that their safety is protected. Huge investments are already made and will be made on the telecommunications highways which require protection from misuse," he added.