Morocco embarks on 10-year broadband plan

Morocco plans to embark on a 10-year plan to develop its broadband sector in a bid to boost internet usage in the country, reports online news website Magharebia.

The National Telecommunications Regulation Agency (ANRT) says the plan, which has been approved by government, is intended to give the country’s entire population access to fixed or mobile broadband by 2022.

The first phase of the project is to see the planned rollout of 4G networks from 2014 onwards.

Moreover, ANRT plans to launch pilot projects to deploy fibre-optic cables to selected housing estates away from the main urban areas.

The second phase could see service quality and connectivity between networks in different areas improved, as well as an investigation into the use of alternative broadband technologies.

“The implementation of this nationwide plan will include legal and regulatory measures to encourage the sharing of infrastructures and pooling of investment,” said ANRT chief Azzeddine El Mountassir Billah.

Morocco's telecommunications market is dominated by Vivendi's Maroc Telecom, France Telecom affiliate Medi Telecom, and Wana, owned by a holding company controlled by the Moroccan monarchy and Kuwait's Zain.

While mobile penetration hovers around 110% of Morocco's 33 million population, there were only 3.2 million subscribers to the Internet by the end of 2011, up 70% from the previous year, according to ANRT.