MUSCAT: Oman Broadband Company (OBC) has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Nama Group (formerly The Electricity Holding Company) that would allow it to utilize the latter’s nationwide fibre optic infrastructure that currently extends around 74,000 kilometres across the length and breadth of the Sultanate.
The pact, signed at OBC’s head office in Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM), marks the culmination of fruitful engagements involving the Authority for Public Services Regulation (APSR), on the one hand, and Oman Broadband Company, and the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA), on the other.
In attendance at the signing on Thursday were HH Sayyid Kamil bin Fahad al Said, Chairman, of Oman ICT Group, Shaikh Dr Mansoor bin Talib al Hinai, Chairman of the Authority for Public Services Regulation, and Eng Said al Manthari, Chief Executive Officer of Oman ICT Group, along with representatives from both organisations. The CEOs of Nama Group’s electricity distribution subsidiaries were present as well.
The main objective of this partnership is to enable Oman Broadband Company to use the massive fibre optic infrastructure that belongs to Nama Group including all infrastructure assets taking into consideration all operational and commercial inputs for both organisations. Through this partnership, Oman Broadband will access Nama Group’s electricity network to grow its customer base. The project will be implemented at the highest levels of safety and sustainable accuracy to ensure that the electricity network and its customers are not harmed, it stressed.
Eng Bader al Zeidi, Acting Chief Executive Officer, said: “This partnership will support Oman Broadband in the implementation of the National Broadband Strategy that was assigned by the Council of Ministers to Oman Broadband in 2013. Furthermore, this partnership is also in line with the Finance Ministry’s circular to all government bodies regulating the use of passive network infrastructure. The circular urges government organisations that own network infrastructure to lease capacity to local internet service providers and thereby enhance internet penetration and utilization in the Sultanate.
Importantly, the utilisation of Nama Group’s fibre optic network will contribute towards avoiding double investments on similar projects as well as positively increase the pace of projects and achieves better financial returns and cost cutting. It is expected that this partnership will contribute towards saving of least RO 8,000 – 10,000 per kilometre using the infrastructure of Nama Group that extends to more than 74,000 kilometres.
Eng Bader al Zeidi noted: “This partnership will also empower Oman Broadband Company to accelerate the wide spread of broadband services across the Sultanate through adapting different technologies to achieve the National Broadband Strategy. Oman Broadband is currently working on hastening the roll-out of the fibre optic network (FTTH) as well as using the latest satellite technology for areas with low density.”
Eng Ali bin Issa Shammas, Chief Executive Officer of Dhofar Power Company (DPC), said: “The signing ceremony will contribute towards the great use of the fibre optic network that belongs to DPC in spreading broadband services across the Sultanate. We always look forward towards integrating with infrastructure companies for the greater use.”
Welcoming the pact, Eng Saleh al Rumhi, CEO of the Rural Areas Electricity Company (Tanweer), said the deal will fibre optic based coverage in the company’s concession, which represents about 73 per cent of the Sultanate’s area.