The Oman Broadband Company’s (OBC) confidence of achieving significant optic-fibre coverage of Muscat by 2020 reflects the nation’s confidence in reaching technological milestones. The company says it will reach 85 per cent coverage of Muscat Governorate by 2020 and 30 per cent of the Sultanate. The company has set a target of providing optic-fibre coverage to 60,000 more units this year, in addition to the 145,000 it has already managed. It is noteworthy that the infrastructure laid in Al Athaibah, Al Ghubrah, Al Qurum, Madinat Al Ilam, Wadi Aday, Al Hamriyah and Wadi Kabir has been made available to users. The fact that the company is looking at extending coverage in other cities of the Sultanate will contribute to upgrading the ICT infrastructure much further. Optic-fibre network is the best bet for quality ICT infrastructure as it easily resolves the last-mile problem that is the bane of networks the world over. OBC is a vital cog in implementing the Sultanate’s National Broadband Strategy aimed at elevating the nation’s ranking in network quality and usage. The forward-looking leadership of the Sultanate has never demurred from taking up a technological challenge. This has helped the nation to install the best of infrastructure in the region. Naturally, the people enjoy a better quality of life. The government has been constantly striving to upgrade the nation’s capacity to achieve higher efficiencies in delivering public and commercial services and the ICT infrastructure is the single most important enabler in meeting this task.
A quality ICT infrastructure will help the nation to promote the Muttrah smart city project. The proposal that has received The Research Council nod will make Muttrah the first smart city of the Sultanate. This entails upgrading the network connectivity and using Internet of Things to make the infrastructure efficient. The network would cover transportation systems, hospitals, power plants, schools libraries, community services, water supply, waste management and law enforcement. TRC has approved the proposal in principle. The future smart cities will be based on that model. The authorities rightly reckon that the Sultanate has obvious advantages in pushing through the smart city proposal. Almost 95 per cent of the nation is covered by quality connectivity, with optic-fibre network being installed across the nation. The Innovation Park in Muttrah is a long stride in the right direction. It is in such places that talents can come together and exchange ideas. That would result in out-of-the-box solutions.
The government knows the importance of proper infrastructure in propelling the youth towards a future where they become world leaders of innovation. A fully integrated smart city that is network centric is the best bet for the future. Eventually the entire nation should be on a network so that the level of efficiency would increase. Higher efficiencies ensure better redeployment of resources at a time when the region is facing economic uncertainties. In fact the government has made two smart moves that could help the nation stay ahead for a long time. One is the adoption of technologies that increase the efficiencies of government processes. The other is the adoption of green technologies that reduce the carbon footprint. They both improve process efficiency and ensure that the resources are properly used.