Lebanon’s Ministry of Telecommunications (MoT) has licensed three local operators to operate fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) broadband services via state-owned incumbent telco Ogero’s in-deployment network, namely Connect (Lebanon), Globalcom Data Services (GDS, a sister company of IDM Lebanon) and TriSat. All three are currently licensed as ‘data service providers’ (DSPs), operating internet access services via their own fixed-wireless infrastructure. As quoted by Lebanese paper BusinessNews, GDS chairman Habib Torbey said that FTTH packages will be priced ‘moderately’ above the current costs of DSL, with initial connection speeds up to 100Mbps, whilst the MoT aims to finalise the geographic distribution assigned to each company within two months.
The new licences, according to Nassif Bechara, CEO of Connect, assert that Ogero remains the sole owner of the fibre-optic network; DSPs sign usage contracts with Ogero whereby the state telco will perform maintenance. Habib Torbey added that the DSPs can deploy additional fibre-optic cables only in specific areas and in cases where such cabling is not available (expected to represent less than 5% of the overall network). Connect and TriSat will reportedly pay 40% of revenues to the MoT under the licence, compared to 20% for GDS. Additionally, the companies pay USD1/metre/year cable rent, plus transmission fees to connect to Ogero central offices (exchanges) and FTTH router rental fees.