Jun 16 2008
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e-govt network making good progress: Wohaibi
In a statement made on the sidelines of the opening ceremony of a seminar on 'Migration strategies to the sixth generation internet technology, he pointed out that the company had gone a long way in this respect, adding that more than 100 government sites had already been linked to the network and that efforts to link several others were underway.
Wohaibi said: "We also exert great efforts to help the society move to digital environment. Therefore, we implement several public awareness programmes to provide free internet packages and link other segments of individuals with special needs, youth and schools category, for which the company has offered subsidised packages. In addition, the company steps up its annual offers of providing subsidised computers at easy terms in order to enable the citizens to subscribe to the internet.
Furthermore, Omantel sponsors several youth and social programmes, sports activities and festivals to acquaint people with the importance of knowledge and technological environment.
"The biggest challenges facing the efforts to move to the digital environment today is the limited number of computers. Several factors should be made available in order to move to digital, the first of which is a connecting line that links the individual at home with the network as well as a computer. In this respect, the number of computers sold in the Sultanate is still small compared to the neighbouring countries. This is because people are still not interested in buying computer hardware, which in itself is a hindrance because even if the line is available the computer is not. Therefore, we need to establish harmony between providing lines and making computers available."
He pointed out that some countries like Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Morocco have implemented national programmes to provide semi-free computers fully subsidised by the government in order to enable their people to delve into the digital and knowledge environment.
This is because the computer is the first step for individuals and families to enter the digital environment and know its advantages. Hence, it would be difficult for people to depart from it or even do without.
He added that making this first step means that individuals and families should buy computers.
Wohaibi indicated that other obstacles facing migration to the digital society include the horizontal urban expansion in the Sultanate, which means that new neighbourhoods and buildings would be dispersed and not in one location. Furthermore, several new areas and cities are planned but they lack the necessary utilities and services, which makes line connection difficult.
"The challenges we face in the next stage include the provision of high-quality and unique services to our subscribers.
Therefore, we see telecom companies working hard to provide good services. However, in view of high pace internet usage and increased number of subscribers, and because government and private institutions depend on the web to provide their services, we are facing new challenge.
It is a fact that IP addresses are entirely used up. It is therefore incumbent upon us all to tackle this issue at the national level and establish a comprehensive plan to move to IPv6 better known as the "next generation" protocol, which will replace the current version Internet Protocol, IP Version 4 ("IPv4").
This new addresses system would provide high capacities and several new and high quality services," he said.
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