Abu Dhabi: The UAE will probably be the first country in the world next year to have 100 per cent broadband internet penetration through ‘fibre to home technology', a top etisalat executive said yesterday.

"Broadband infrastructure is the number one enabler for broadband [internet connections]. In the UAE, we are extending ‘fibre-to-home' technology to each and every home," said Ahmad Julfar, the company's chief operating officer, said at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit.

"We have almost completed it [providing fibre-to-home technology] in Abu Dhabi city and it will be the first city in the country to have 100 per cent fibre penetration," he said.

Whole country

"We will complete it in 90 per cent of homes by the end of this year and in the whole country by 2012.

"So we will probably be the first country in the world to have 100 per cent fibre penetration," Julfar said. In the Saudi Arabia, speed has been increased from 7.2 to 14.2 megabytes, Julfar said.

Heavy investment

"We are heavily investing in broadband infrastructure in the country as we have 60 per cent market share there," he added. In Egypt etisalat has 40 per cent market share in data although it was the third entrant.

Julfar said: "We have been there for just three years. So broadband infrastructure is the most important enabler [for broadband internet connections] in new markets."

He was responding to a question from Errol Barnett, an anchor and correspondent with CNN International, who was the moderator of the round table discussion and asked what the importance was of broadband internet and its state in the UAE market.

Hans Vestberg, president and CEO of Ericsson, was the opening presenter.