Libyan internet service provider (ISP) Libya Telecom and Technology (LTT) plans to launch its first commercial WiMAX wireless network, and says it hopes to start with WiMAX coverage, including mobile WiMAX, in 18 cities. LTT hopes the deployment will provide internet access via a USB dongle plugged into a laptop to anyone within 50km of one of its towers. The operator’s new system, which has initial capacity for 300,000 subscribers, will begin signing up business users from next week and residential customers the week after.
Libya is home to around 51,000 broadband subscribers, while a further 170,000 of the population rely on slower dial-up internet access. The slow pace of broadband development in the country is hampered by poor PSTN provisioning, and the infrastructure that does exist is by and large outdated and limited in terms of coverage. LTT’s WiMAX network, which does not reply on the PSTN, will sidestep this problem and allow the operator to help bridge the so-called ‘digital divide’ in Libya when it launches the service priced at USD30 per month and a one-off payment of USD400 to include the USB device.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Libya Telecom and Technology is a pioneer in the internet and ICT field and has been in operation since 1997. It has signed equipment contracts with Huawei and ZTE of China for the new WiMAX network which will offer maximum connections speeds of 70Mbps. The new network is expected to go live in the first half of next year.