Qatar is on its way to becoming a “Smart Nation” in the coming years, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohamed bin Saud al-Thani, chairman of Ooredoo Group has stressed, highlighting that the ultimate goal is to become the best-connected country in the world.
He was speaking at the inaugural session of ITU Telecom World 2014 yesterday.
“Qatar is on its way to becoming a truly ‘Smart Nation’, showing what is possible when mobile technology is incorporated into every aspect of national development. We are uniquely placed to be a hub to connect and share the benefits of new breakthroughs between the east and west, the developing world and developed countries,” he said.
Highlighting some of the achievements of the country, HE Sheikh Abdullah said: “We have already made great strides. Qatar has the second highest level of household broadband penetration of any developing country after Korea - 94.6%. We are 17th in the world in the number of people per capita using the Internet. We have nationwide 4G LTE coverage, 185 % mobile penetration and high-speed fibre connecting more than 85% of homes in Qatar.
“In the coming years, you will see how Qatar deploys technology to transform people’s lives. Smart city technology is being put in place to manage traffic, energy consumption, security and real estate development across the whole nation. It will make life easier, greener and more sustainable. Smart stadium technology is being built into the mega projects that will host massive sporting events, including the FIFA World Cup, World Athletics Championship and World Men’s Handball Championship, over the next decade.”
The Ooredoo chief also noted that there are several daunting challenges in the progress. “The challenges we face are daunting. But these challenges must be seen as energisers, not brakes on our journey. My appeal to you from the outset is to move as rapidly as we can from intent to implementation, from aspiration to action and to do so today.”
Speaking about the global scenario, HE Sheikh Abdullah said only about 40% of the world’s population has access to the Internet at present. “This leaves a huge number of people, and over 90% of them live in developing countries, unable to access the life-enriching benefits of the online world. Globally, there are over 200mn fewer women online than men. That is simply not good enough.”
He urged everyone to come together to help remove some of the barriers that prevent people from getting online and from enjoying the life-enhancing benefits it brings. “You know the economic and social benefits that will follow. These are ethical as well as commercial imperatives,”
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