Call for Ultra-Fast Broadband Services across Malta

Dr. Silvana Zammit | 21 Feb 2012

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The Ministry for Infrastructure, Transport and Communications has issued a call for expressions of interest in the roll-out of a next generation broadband infrastructure that allows for ultra-fast broadband services across Malta and Gozo.

The Ministry said that the Government of Malta is committed to speeding up the roll-out of ultra-fast broadband services to all areas of Malta and Gozo, concentrating initially, on priority broadband users such as schools, hospitals, businesses and providers of other public services where possible. “Following this, we [the Government] plan[s] to reach all residential areas in a phased approach through a nation-wide Fibre-to-the-Home network.”

Malta has invested heavily in the sector of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and its state-of-the-art telecommunications infrastructure has accelerated the island’s progress in this field which has become one of the world’s largest growing sectors. In fact, The Global Information Technology Report 2010-2011 released by the World Economic Forum ranked the Maltese government as the 4th most successful government in the world in promoting ICT.

Austin Gatt, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Communications, said that “this network is essential for Malta to continue to be among the leading nations in the field of ICT, building upon its successes in creating new jobs in the ICT and service- based industries to Malta and enabling the Government to continue to be the European leader in eGovernment services.” The Minister went on to say that the Government’s plans for eHealth and eLearning solutions, which will bring state-of-the-art health care and learning solutions into the Maltese homes, are dependent on having a resilient, future-proof network, offering services in a competitive environment.

The objective of having an ultra-fast broadband network is in line with the EU-wide objective of 100 Mbps service availability and wide-spread take-up by 2020.

In Malta, Melita plc is already providing Internet access to the home with speeds reaching up to 100 Mbps, which is a good 8 years ahead of the target set by the EU.  GO plc, another Maltese telecommunications company, has also invested in its network and is providing high-definition TV channels over fibre connections in Maltese homes. In addition to this, Vodafone Malta Ltd. is also interested in offering fixed-line ultra- fast broadband Internet.

The Ministry explained that the Government, in line with its Vision 2015, plans and is determined to make Malta a centre of excellence in key economic sectors. Its efforts have led to Malta being the European leader in eGovernment services, and to be the first country in Europe to mandate 4 Mbps connections as the minimum threshold for access to the Internet.

This call for expressions of interest will be open until the 16th April, 2012.

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