December 17, 2018

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Lebanon to initiate wide-scale fiber optic project

The project, announced during a launch event held at the Grand Serail, would replace Lebanon's outdated copper wire infrastructure with fibre optic cables in an effort to boost the country's sluggish internet speeds.

BEIRUT: Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced Tuesday the initiation of a wide scale fiber optic project across all Lebanese territories, after state-owned telecom company Ogero awarded tenders to three international companies tasked with linking end users to their central offices.

The project, announced during a launch event held at the Grand Serail, would replace Lebanon's outdated copper wire infrastructure with fiber optic cables in an effort to boost the country's sluggish internet speeds. 

According to Ogero head Imad Khreideh, Chinese based Huawei, Finnish based Nokia, and American based Calix would work alongside local companies SERTA Channels, Powertech, and BMB respectively to overhaul Lebanon's telecom infrastructure.

Hariri praised the undertaking of this project, which would put Lebanon on par with the rest of the industrialized world in terms of Internet speed, saying that "Lebanon needs this technology as it would lead to massive job creations."

"Although we suffered many delays, my government is proud of this achievement and will continue fulfilling the needs of Lebanese citizens," he added. 

In June of 2017, Ogero slashed Internet prices by an average of 50 percent, with other private Internet Service Providers (ISPs) following suit in an effort to bypass the below par bandwidth offered to consumers while vowing to upgrade the country's telecom infrastructure. 

Yet numerous bureaucratic setbacks hampered the project up until now after Lebanon's Cabinet first agreed on October 6, 2017, to allocate the L.L150 billion ($100 million) sought by the Ministry of Telecom (MoT) for the installation of fiber optic cables across Lebanon.

The total cost of the project, which will be implemented over a four-year period, amounts to $300 million.

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