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Ministry of Communications joins hands with ‘Zain’ to provide high-speed broadband to nearly one million people in villages and hamlets

11 Dec 2017
Ministry of Communications joins hands with ‘Zain’ to provide high-speed broadband to nearly one million people in villages and hamlets

The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology signed, on Thursday 07 December 2017, an agreement for 3 projects with Mobile Telecommunication Company Saudi Arabia (Zain) to roll out ultra-fast broadband internet network covering 28 governorates in four provinces: Makkah Province, Eastern Province, Riyadh Province and Asir Province. 

The agreement comes in line with the ministry’s efforts to expedite the implementation of the High-speed Broadband Internet initiative in the Kingdom’s remote areas. The initiative was launched with a view to developing a digital government and economy in order to improve the quality of life of citizens in these areas and achieve the ministry’s objectives under the National Transformation Program 2020. 

As part of the initiative, ultra-speed internet will be provided to 3,900 communities in four administrative regions housing around 800,000 citizens and expatriate residents. Besides, a robust infrastructure will be built to bridge the digital gap in remote areas and enable residents to gain easier access to online government services. 

The agreement was signed at the ministry’s headquarters in the presence of His Excellency Eng. Abdullah Al-Swaha, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, and Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Ruwais, Governor of Communications and Information Technology Commission. 

Eng. Abdullah Al-Kanhal, Deputy Minister for Communications and Digital Infrastructure, represented the ministry during the signing ceremony, while Prince Naif bin Sultan bin Muhammad bin Saud Al-Kabir, Chairman of Zain, represented the company. 

“The agreement reflects the ministry’s unwavering commitment to developing the digital infrastructure in remote villages and hamlets to promote innovation, expedite efforts to build a knowledge-based society and economy and take a major digital transformation leap to improve electronic government transactions in key fields such as education, healthcare, and other vital services,” Al-Kanhal explained. 

Collaboration with Zain highlights the ministry’s keenness to enhance partnerships with the private sector and stimulate investment in digital infrastructure, he added, pointing out that the ministry will supervise all phases of the project to ensure the delivery of high-quality services to the public. 

Governorates covered by the agreement include Makkah Province (comprising Al-Jumoum, Al-Leith, Jeddah, Makkah, Rabigh, Bahra and Adham), Eastern Province (comprising Baqeeq, Ahsa, Dammam, Jubail, Khobar, Nuairiyah, Qatif, Ras Tanourah and Adeed), Riyadh Province (comprising Wadi Al-Dawaser, Aflaj, Saleel, Kharj, Hautat Bani Tamim, Muzahimiya, Hariq) and Asir Province (comprising Uhud Rufaidah, Dhahran Al-Janoub, Khamis Mushait, Tathleeth and Tareeb). 

The ministry will continue to cover more remote areas and provide residents with broadband wireless networks, aiming to offer these services to 70% of homes in these locations by 2020. It will also provide basic telecom, voice and internet services to citizens and expatriate residents all over the country. Over 17,000 communities, housing around four million people, have been provided with internet coverage to date in Northern Borders, Jouf, Hail, Tabouk, Qassim, Riyadh, Madinah, Makkah, Eastern Province, Asir, Baha, Najran, Jazan.

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