Maroc Telecom and the Moroccan government have signed a MAD10.5 billion (USD1.3 billion) investment agreement under which the former monopoly telco will expand and upgrade its infrastructure, focusing on three key areas. Firstly, domestic network traffic capacity will be increased through the rollout of next generation network (NGN) technology, which will also facilitate the development of convergent triple- and quad-play fixed line/broadband internet/IPTV/mobile services. The second objective is to raise international transmission capacity via the Atlas Offshore submarine cable linking the country with Europe, alongside the construction of a new terrestrial fibre-optic cable between Laayoune in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara and Nouakchott, the capital of neighbouring Mauritania, which will also improve connectivity in the Western Saharan areas of Boujdour, Dakhla and Aousserd. The third tranche of investment funds will be channelled into enhancing mobile and fixed-wireless network coverage in rural and remote areas of Morocco as part of an ongoing scheme known as PACT (Programme of general Access to Telecommunications). An additional 7,300 rural locations are scheduled to receive network services by 2011. The latest investment package is the third in a series of public/private agreements; Maroc Telecom invested over MAD20 billion in the six-year period 2003-08 under the previous two agreements.
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