EU to assist Jordan with telecom reforms; NBN project resurrected

19 Jan 2012

Jordan has launched a joint programme with the European Union (EU) to improve competition and quality of service in the telecommunications sector, reports the Jordan Times. The project, dubbed ‘The Jordan-EU Programme for Institutional Strengthening of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission’ will see Jordan update its regulatory framework in line with international and EU best practices over the next 24 months. The reforms will be guided by a consortium from France, Spain and Italy, and overseen by Jordan’s Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, though funding will come from the EU itself.

Commenting on the programme, French ambassador to Jordan, Corinne Breuze said: ‘This partnership will hopefully contribute to further the development of this sector in Jordan, by helping to strike the proper balance between the need for healthy competition and incentives for investors.’ The French representative went on to stress the crucial role of the telecoms segment to a country’s development, and its particular importance to Jordan in terms of job creation.

Jordan’s ICT minister Bassem Roussan added that, parallel to the institutional strengthening scheme, the government was planning to revive the National Broadband Network (NBN) project with a public-private partnership. The NBN was started in 2003 and intended to roll out a fibre-optic network connecting the nation’s educational, governmental and medical institutions. The build-out was scrapped in 2008, with just 35% of the network completed, due to a shortage of funds.