Director of Lebanese state-backed telco Ogero, Imad Kreidieh, has stated the objective to give ‘85%’ of internet users in Lebanon access to fixed broadband speeds of 50Mbps by the end of 2018, more than ten times the speed available to many DSL users currently. As reported by Lebanon’s Daily Star, Kreidieh outlined to a Beirut conference that much of the immediate improvement is slated to come via a ‘maintenance’ programme for Ogero’s infrastructure and a revamp of the company’s core network, projects which have reached 25% and 35% completion respectively, and are scheduled to finish by mid-2018. ‘By the end of Q2 2018, we will have a completely new core network,’ the Ogero head stated, whilst other ongoing network upgrades include the rollout of VDSL and fibre last-mile infrastructure.
A full-blown direct fibre (FTTx including fibre-to-the-home [FTTH]) launch is scheduled for the third quarter of 2019, whilst Ogero is currently deploying FTTx pilots in Ashrafieh and Hamra, with Kreidieh noting that the FTTx rollout timeframe is ‘bound by the financing approved by the government’. A total of eleven separate network projects have been initiated by Ogero, ranging from replacing old voice telephony equipment to launching data centres. The 2017 state budget appropriated LBP150 billion (USD99 million) for national network upgrades, and Ogero envisaged another LBP150 billion in capital investment in 2018, and further CAPEX injections of around LBP75 billion in both 2019 and 2020. Ogero highlighted that in April this year upgrades/maintenance to certain segments of its network resulted in improved user-reported DSL download speeds above 20Mbps.