Lower internet rates 'will boost smart govt adoption'
Dubai, March 25, 2014
Lower rates of Internet service will broaden the adoption of UAE’s smart government services, accoding to ICDL GCC Foundation, an organisation that promotes digital skills and cyber safety across the Gulf region and Iraq.
It will promote the subscription of data packages by the masses, which is highly important for smart and e-services to reach every member of the society, it said.
The foundation lauded the efforts undertaken by regional governments toward building an integrated digital system, which is accompanied with the aim to boost the smart government’s e- and m-services.
The regional governments have registered their highest levels of ICT investment in 2013, it said.
Meanwhile, it also pointed out that governments should take effective measures to bring down the high data service rates to make them more affordable for all Internet users.
According to a recent study conducted by the foundation, the rates for data service in the GCC are still high in comparison to other countries and diverse among each other as well.
The high service charges inhibit users’ ability to subscribe to data packages which can hamper the success of the GCC’s smart governance agendas. However, affordable data service charges will result in greater participation in smart and e-services, it said.
The GCC governments must proactively work on long-term strategic objectives to establish public private partnerships that will eventually help to bring down telecommunication rates in the region, said the study.
Better coordination and collaboration between government and Internet service providers will also help in bridging this gap, it said.
Jamil Ezzo, director general, said: “The governments of the GCC have launched smart and e-services for the benefits of its people and visitors. However, high telecommunication rates acts as a major obstacle for people to access to these services. There is a greater need for affordable telecom services so that people from all walks of life can have easier access to the Internet.
“ICDL GCC Foundation proposes cooperation between the public and the private sectors to devise solutions to make data service affordable and accessible in the GCC so that each household has an Internet connection and every smartphone user has access to a mobile data package.” - TradeArabia News Service