Earlier this month I was invited to attend the Lebanese Ministry of Telecommunications’s launching ceremony of its 2020 Digital Telecom Vision (لبنان ٢٠٢٠ رؤية الاتصالات الرقمية) which occurred on Wednesday July 1 2015 at the Grand Serail (ie; Governmental Palace).
Among the attendees were the Prime Minister Saeb Salam, Telecommunications Minister Boutros Harb, head of Ogero Abdel Moneim Youssef, and several others including tens of invited businessmen and technology experts.
The vision targets to push Lebanon’s telecommunications network forward. It aims to be implemented on two main levels:
- Digital Subscriber Line (a.k.a. DSL)
- 4G network
To do this the ministry plans to introduce fiber optic cables to the currently aged copper network which is already in a state of chaos and no longer capable responding to the increased ADSL internet speeds. For example, my ADSL 2MB/s subscription has been deteriorating. Occasionally the connection is either lost or the speed is very slow that no page loads. This has been occurring over the past year.
Lately I called the ISP on such an incident and I was told that the node is becoming overloaded resulting in the decreased performance.
The ministry is marketing this plan as “fiber to the home” (FTTH). This will be great news once employed and I would love to witness it. I hope that politics and personal interest, doesn’t affect the progress of this vision and plan as it usually does with projects in Lebanon.
I hope Harb’s plan proves to the Lebanese and the world that Lebanon is capable of hosting startups and businesses that heavily rely on the Internet of Things (IoT) in their daily operations especially Lebanese startups that are resorting to establishing their head quarters abroad to be able to compete with international companies.
It is worth noting here that the previous Telecom minister Nicolas Sehnaoui had worked on improving the infrastructure and network by introducing fiber optic cables to the copper backbone which led to increase in speeds, reduction of fees, and introduction of 3G. Succeeding Sehnaoi, Bourtros Harb made further improvements most notable on internet and communication fees among others. If this plan succeeds he will have pushed Lebanon to international standards and putting Lebanon on a competing edge with neighbouring countries. I look forward to such a day. We are counting down (and counting on you) Boutros Habr.
Furthermore, the cellular network is also planned on being improved to cover most of the country with the 4G network and follow up with the rest of the world with the 4.75G and 5G network (by 2017 & 2020 respectively). Currently the network serves a 2G/3G (and 4G LTE partially). It must also add that the current 3G connection is good relative to the ADSL connection I have at home. But the quota is still expensive in comparison.
I hope this goes as planned and that other ministries especially the ministry of energy and water follow in the footsteps of this plan and start serious work on their respective infrastructure. The water distribution network seriously needs rejuvenating. The summer 2014 water shortage due to lack of rain water helped raise the attention on the importance of this among other things.
Lebanon 2020 Digital Telecom Vision, Lebanese Ministry of Telecommunications
Lebanese start to face unprecedented water problems
Nicolas Sehnaoui, Wikipedia
Telecommunications in Lebanon – Internet Services, Wikipedia
Internet of Things, Wikipedia