Fibre optics plan to cover 95pc of residential areas by 2024

EFFORTS are in full swing to ensure that at least 95 per cent of all residential areas in Bahrain are fully covered by fibre optics by 2024.

According to Transportation and Telecommunications Minister Kamal Ahmed, Bahrain is the first country on a global level to have nation-wide 5G coverage.

He was speaking during the Economic Recovery Forum held yesterday at the Bahrain Institute for Banking and Finance, Bahrain Bay in collaboration with the Shura Council and supported by the National Bank of Bahrain.

“The traditional physical infrastructure has changed as the world has now shifted and focused on a digital infrastructure which forms the backbone of any economy,” he said during the forum.

“We have already covered 100 per cent of commercial areas as part of the fibre optics network and work is underway to cover at least 95pc of all residential areas under the same network by 2024.

“Efforts are in full swing to turn Bahrain into a platform for future generation jobs such as cloud computing and applications.”

He was speaking during the forum’s third session which focused on supporting promising sectors and strategic projects to spur growth and boost the non-oil gross domestic product (GDP) as well as spearhead strategic development projects.

The session was moderated by Shura Council’s second deputy chairwoman Jameela Salman and featured Mr Ahmed, Mumtalakat chief executive Khalid Al Rumaihi and Economic Development Board chief executive Khalid Humaidan.

Mr Al Rumaihi highlighted that Mumtalakat, Bahrain’s sovereign wealth fund, is currently reviewing several large strategic medical projects that would encourage foreign investment in the kingdom.

He added that these include the manufacture of vaccines, the use of new technology in the health insurance sector, as well as investment in the health infrastructure while also studying projects in collaboration with the Works, Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning Ministry to achieve food security and self-sufficiency while also investing in the financial sector.

“The pandemic has played a role in the significant increase in the use of technology and electronic means of payment,” said Central Bank of Bahrain governor Rasheed Al Maraj during the forum.

“We established an e-system for payments – which is Fawri and Fawri+ – in 2015 and this established the foundation for the increased dependence on those means in the following years with a significant spread witnessed during the pandemic.

“There are continuous efforts and work to ensure that developments are constant and keep up with developments in the field across the globe,” he said.




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