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Jordan to complete national broadband network in two years

Government to spend $209m to finished broadband project

Jordan to complete national broadband network in two years
The National Broadband Network will connect key sites across the country.

The Jordanian government has committed $209m to complete its National Broadband Network project within the next two years.

Azzam Sleit, ICT Minister, said that the winning bidders for the tenders to complete the project would be announced in May, with all parts of the project due for completion within two years, the Jordan Times reported.

"All projects under the tenders that the government floated will be completed in two years after which the scheme will be ready. This will greatly boost e-services, e-health and e-education in the Kingdom," Sleit said.

The project, which was initiated in 2003, has halted several times due to lack of funds, Sleit added. The network will provide high speed connectivity between public facilities, hospitals, schools and agencies.

The funding to complete the project will come from a $5 billion development grant from the Gulf Cooperation Council. Work on the network started in 2003, with 35% of the network completed at a cost of $36 million.

The minister said that the government was in discussion with Jordan's three incumbent telecoms operators, Zain Jordan, Orange Jordan and Umnia, about the introduction of 4G services.

"We chose to talk to the three existing operators and we are more than happy if they ask for the frequencies to provide 4G services," Sleit said. "We will soon hear good news on this matter."

The Jordanian government recently rejected two bids for 4G licences, from KULACOM Jordan and a US-based Ameriphone, and the existing operators have said that the introduction of a fourth player would damage the market.

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