Oman Broadband Company (OBC) plans to expand coverage of its fibre-optic network to a further 130,000 homes and business in the capital Muscat by the end of 2016. The Oman Daily Observer writes that the state-owned company’s infrastructure is currently available to around 70,000 residential and commercial units across Muscat Governorate. The rollout forms part of OBC’s aim to connect all homes and businesses across the Sultanate to national broadband infrastructure by 2040. ‘In Muscat Governorate, home to roughly 28% of the national population, we had around 70,000 homes connected by optical fibre by 1 June this year. A further 30,000 connections will be completed by the end of this year, and in 2016, we will extend fibre-optic based broadband connectivity to another 100,000 units in the Muscat region,’ stated Majid Amer Nassir al Kharoosi, OBC’s director of Master Planning and Special Projects, adding: ‘Our overall target is to cover all of the urban areas outside of Muscat by the year 2030. Fibre-optic coverage of rural areas will commence in 2020, especially in regions where government utilities already have a presence.’
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that state-owned OBC has been licensed by the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) to provide the infrastructure in accordance with the plans and objectives of a new National Broadband Strategy (NBS), which was formally approved by the government in September 2013. The fibre-optic infrastructure is being made available to the country’s national telecoms operators Omantel and Ooredoo Oman, as well as to government-run utilities and third-party service providers. For the installation of cables, OBC is also partnering with government-run utilities and ministries, such as the Public Authority for Electricity and Water, the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, and Haya Water, with a view to reducing the cost of the civil works.