The United Arab Emirates have been ranked as first in the world for Fibre to the Home (FTTH) roll out with a penetration rate of 72%.
The news that the Emirates lead the way in superfast broadband came from a report compiled by Panorama Research for the FTTH Global Council. The report, which looked at 36 jurisdictions of greater than 200,000 homes, found that the UAE was ahead of second placed South Korea, which had a penetration rate of 57%. Japan, Russia, USA and France followed.
The UAE's network has been installed by communications firm Etisalat which has invested AED 19 billion (GBP 3.3billion / USD 5.2billion) in the project.
Whilst the report puts the UAE's penetration rate at 72%, the figure is coninuously rising and now stands closer to 80% according to Saleh Al Abdooli, CEO of Etisalat.
"We made investments worth AED19billion in the FTTH network coupled with the efforts of our qualified team due to our long term strategy for future growth. In fact, the penetration rate in the country has almost touched 80 per cent putting UAE much ahead of other global competitors."
The project has now connected over 1.3 million homes to the fibre network and Abu Dhabi has become the first capital city in the world to be connected in its entirety.
The UAE's position as the global leader in FTTH has been taken as a point of pride for regional commentators, including Christine Beylouni, Director General of the Fibre to the Home Council MENA (Middle East and North Africa), who said that "The council is proud that one of the countries from the region is leading in this segment. Etisalat has played a major role in contributing towards this success due to its superior knowledge and services in this segment."
Although the project was carried out by Etisalat rather than through government funding, Saleh Al Abdooli, acknowledged the important role that the country's leaders had to play in the project.
"This accomplishment would not have been possible without the support and guidance of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, The Vice president and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai and the members of the supreme council," he said.