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The Rise of Fiber in the Middle East

FTTX Megna logo

It’s the eve of SCTE Cable-Tec Expo here in the States, but in the Middle East, industry focus is on FTTX Megna, a fiber networks conference taking place in Dubai. The conference is only in its second year, but it is addressing a rapidly growing industry in the region. The pace of broadband development in the Middle East has skyrocketed since 2003, and while initially there was a push toward DSL deployments, more recently the trend is toward fiber.

There are several differences between the US and Middle East markets that help explain how the two are developing differently. First, a lack of broadband penetration in the Middle East until recent years kept demand for higher Internet speeds down. However, speed demands are increasing as more and more people get connected, which in turn means there is a more urgent need for higher-capacity network infrastructure.

Second, cable networks are almost non-existent in the Middle East. Since cable networks can support 100+ Mbps speeds, their absence also creates greater urgency for fiber.

Third, the DSL infrastructure that delivers broadband in the region today is not standardized the way it is in the US. Loop lengths vary widely, which means quality of broadband service varies widely as well. Again, this creates more urgency for fiber.

Motorola’s Middle East headquarters are in Dubai, and the company is one of the sponsors for this week’s FTTX Megna event. In fact, at least one Motorola executive will be speaking at the conference. As fiber spreads in the region, more of Motorola’s attention has turned to wireline networks as a complement to wireless technology in the Middle East. And not only is Motorola selling network equipment, but there is demand for Motorola’s network design expertise as well, particularly as a company that has been established in the region for decades.

I’ll be focused primarily on Cable-Tec Expo in the next several days, but it’s not the only place Motorola will be this week. For more information on FTTX Megna, visit the conference website.

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