Jordan launched the country's 2013 ICT strategy that includes plans to increase Internet penetration in the Kingdom from the current 63 per cent to 85% by the end of 2017.
The strategy entails promoting the ICT sector in Jordan to increase investments in the field from $250 million currently to $450 million by the end of 2017, Abed Shamlawi, said CEO of the ICT Association of Jordan (int@j). The strategy, which will be implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology, includes increasing the sector's annual revenues from around $2.5 billion currently to some $3.15 billion by the end of 2017, Shamlawi told The Jordan Times.
Under the strategy, employment in the sector will increase from around 16,000 currently to around 20,000 by the end of 2017, he added.
According to the Minister of Information and Communications Technology Hatem Halawani, "The remarkable impact of ICT on the macro and micro levels of the economy has been exponentially growing since the early 90s in the country." Citing recent studies on emerging and developing economies, the minister said that every 10 per cent increase in Internet penetration correlates with an incremental gross domestic product increase of 1-2 per cent.
"Other studies have indicated that raising broadband penetration in emerging markets to the levels in Western Europe could add $300 to $400 billion in gross domestic product and create 10 to 14 million new jobs," said the minister at the event, which witnessed the launch of an initiative to boost much-needed Arabic content on the web.
Internet subscriptions in Jordan stood at 14 per cent with about 874,832 subscribers by the end of September 2012, according to latest available figures released by the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission. Of the total, there were 556,557 mobile broadband subscribers, 198,003 ADSL and 106,843 Wi-Max users.
According to a recent report by Cisco Systems, Inc, mobile broadband network users in Jordan enjoy download and upload speeds that surpass the average in Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries.