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UAE Internet Usage

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Broadband and Internet Use in the UAE

Gulf News, 28 April 2005

Dubai: The UAE may soon become one of the countries with the highest number of broadband users. The number of people using high-speed internet will nearly double by the end of the year to 350,000, or 100,000 connections, an e-Company official said.

The UAE tops the Middle East in internet usage with 1.8 million users. But more than three quarters of them use snail-paced dial-up phone lines, which connect a user to the web at 56 kilo bits per second (kbps).

There are about 135 million broadband subscribers in the world. Of them, 39 million are in North America and 63 million in Asia.

"Broadband is the way to go," said Abdullah Hashim, US-trained electrical engineer and senior manager of e-Company, the internet arm of Etisalat. Hashim said the company's Al Shamil broadband packages got more than 7,000 subscribers in three weeks.

The promotion, which ended on March 31, was held in association with Symantec and Linksys. The service allows families to experience to high-speed broadband connection for as little as Dh90 per month for the first three months with free anti-virus, personal firewall and free installation. Consumers who sign up for the promotion get a 50 per cent discount on rentals for three months on all Al Shamil packages. The registration fee of Dh200 was also waived during the period.

"We are constantly searching for ways to enhance the internet experience in the UAE," said Hashim.

Broadband allows users to surf the net, download movies, play games, stream music and connect home computers five times faster than a standard telephone line.

Sweden comes first in the International Telecommunications Union's Digital Access Index, followed by Denmark and Iceland. South Korea, the world leader in broadband access, is fourth, followed by Norway, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Finland, Taiwan and Canada. The United States was 11th on the list due to its underdeveloped mobile phone system.

In the Arab world, the UAE tops the list with one in every two residents having access to the web.

e-Company's introductory price of Dh90 ($24.50) per month for a 256 kbps digital subscriber line link, compared with $25 to $39 in the United States and Europe, makes the UAE one of the countries with the lowest internet charges.


Year Total Internet Users Al Shamil Broadband
2001 964,235 27,139
2002 1,166,515 56,620
2003 1,367,177 87,080
2004 1,706,517 164,332
2005* 1,820,234 186,400

* Figures to March 31, 2005


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