Lebanon Businessnews News

Three companies licensed
to supply fiber to the home
Contract replaces agreement suspended by the State Council
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The Ministry of Telecommunications (MoT) has licensed three data service providers (DSPs) to rent OGERO’s fiber optic network in order to connect end users with ‘Fiber-to-the-home’ (FTTH). The DSPs are: GlobalCom Data Services (GDS), Connect, and TriSat.

Habib Torbey, Chairman of GDS, said that packages through the FTTH project will be moderately priced above the current cost of DSL. FTTH speed will be vastly superior and will reach speeds of up to 100 Mb/s, with higher consumption capacities. Companies can also supply users with added-value content that passes through the same cable. The MoT will finalize the geographic distribution assigned to each company within a two-month period.

The license, according to Nassif Bechara, CEO of Connect, confirms that OGERO remains the sole owner of the fiber optic network. DSPs sign usage contracts with OGERO where the latter will perform maintenance.

Torbey said that they can deploy additional fiber optic cables only in specific areas and in cases where cables are not available. Their contribution is not expected to exceed five percent of the overall work.

The new decision was formulated in a way to ensure that no private company has exclusivity over the fiber optic network, said Nassif.

The revenue-sharing model differs among the three companies. Connect and TriSat will pay 40 percent of their revenues to the MoT, compared to 20 percent for GDS.

Torbey said that the companies will pay additional $1/meter/year as rental fees for the network, in addition to transmission fees between OGERO centrals and the used cables, and rent fees for the routers.

GDS and Connect started a pilot project in 2017 to deploy their own private fiber optic networks in specified geographically dense locations as a part of the FTTH project. But the State Council (the Shoura) ruled in January 2018 in favor of an objection and suspended the license. The new contracts will replace the suspended decision.

The contracts also came about as a complementary step to another deal announced by OGERO in February. It allowed three joint ventures to deploy fiber optic cables, across the country, between its main switches and street cabinets within a four-year period.
Reported by Samer Rasbey
Date Posted: Mar 23, 2018
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