Posted on June 07, 2013

Qatar businesses linked to the Internet achieved the “perfect score” of 100 in terms of broadband connectivity, up from 80% in 2008, new data released by ictQatar show. This assumes significance since the overall proportion of Internet users had also increased significantly in the last four years.

In its “Qatar ICT Landscape - businesses” report, the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology said some 96% of these establishments in the country have fixed broadband, while 16% are connected to mobile broadband. “Encouragingly, small- and medium-sized businesses have made sharp gains in broadband usage, even though they tend to lag behind on other ICT measures,” the report said.

Among the 61% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with an Internet connection in Qatar, some 95% are now using fixed broadband, while 15% are connected through mobile broadband. The rapid expansion of broadband technology in Qatar has landed the country at the top of the list of international benchmarks for this indicator at 100%, on par with South Korea and slightly ahead of highly developed economies such as Australia, France, Ireland and the UK, the report shows.

Nonetheless, the report said the “speed of broadband remains a major issue” in Qatar. For now, most business establishments have access only to low-end - about 60% have connections up to 2Mbps, which greatly impacts how quickly websites load, the speed at which files and other data can be downloaded or uploaded, and the quality of live-streaming video and audio, which are plagued by stuttering and long delays.

The data for broadband speeds by size of establishment indicates that the large and very large establishments have a higher proportion of high-speed Internet connections than the small and medium businesses. Looking ahead, the country’s ongoing infrastructure improvements providing ubiquitous high speed broadband for households and businesses (95%) by 2015 will further enable economic development across sectors, ictQatar said.

The report also said computer networks such as local area networks (LAN), wide area networks (WAN), intranets, and extranets facilitate the efficient flow of information for businesses. Overall, 57% of establishments in Qatar now have LANs, compared to much smaller numbers for those with intranets (18%), followed by WAN (8%), and extranet (3%). The penetration of both LAN and intranet has doubled since 2008.

Currently, network connectivity in Qatar is higher among larger businesses; for example, 93% of very large companies, 95% of large companies, and 79% of medium-sized companies have LAN, versus just 39% of small establishments. This trend is similar for WAN, extranet, and intranet usage, highlighting the fact that small businesses have no need for network connectivity.

Also, network connectivity varies greatly across industries, the report said. For instance, while most sectors report very high LAN penetration, including the key tourism, education, and healthcare industries (at 94%, 88% and 78% respectively), certain sectors, such as manufacturing and sports, lag way behind (at 30% and 13% respectively), dragging down the overall penetration rate. Across all categories, government/mixed businesses are much better connected than privately owned establishments.

According to ictQatar, just under half of all businesses in Qatar have set up official e-mail addresses for employees, compared to 30% in 2010. The proportion of establishments that report doing so increases significantly with the size of a company, with small businesses once again trailing their larger counterparts. (26% for small companies compared with 98% for very large companies). 

Across sectors, a higher number of companies in construction, education, healthcare, and tourism now provide email addresses for one or more employees, with the lowest rate in sports. In terms of ownership, 81% of government/mixed businesses have set up e-mail for employees compared to just under half (47%) of private establishments, the report said.

source: Gulf Times

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