Unlicensed internet connections are one of the main factors behind the poor service of supposedly high-speed ADSL internet, said Minister of Communications and Information Technology Yasser Al-Qadi.
The ministry is looking to distribute internet services across provinces and in villages, as well as to improve the quality of service and launch regional licences for ADSL.
According to an announcement by the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA), the goal of launching regional licences is to eliminate unlicensed connections. Away from the reach of regular internet providers, such as TE Data, internet service distributors currently operate informally by connecting households to the internet for a lower fee. The NTRA will encourage these distributors to obtain licences and provide internet services themselves. At that point, distributors will be able to stop providing unlicensed connections.
The Ministry of Communications announced that regional internet licences will not be launched during the second quarter of this year. The general framework for the licences must first be re-defined before putting them forward to attract internet distributors.
The ministry plans to implement these regional licences in 10 provinces with a maximum of two licences in each governorate. Al-Qadi confirmed that these licences will be launched this year, but he has not yet specified a date.
Al-Qadi did not state how the distributors will receive these licences, but sources within the NTRA said the service will be provided by default. The distributor will buy the amplitudes at a wholesale price from internet companies and then re-sell them to the public.
A number of distributors have welcomed the idea, but only if they will be able to provide the service themselves and not by default. Others have said that internet service prices must be reduced otherwise customers will not want to use services provided with regional licences as an alternative to the, currently cheaper, unlicensed links.