(MENAFN - Jordan Times) The Ministry of Information and Communications Technology is in the process of revising the countrys ICT strategy to update it for the next five years, according to a ministry official.
The process entails measuring progress made in the three aspects of the strategy and developing working mechanisms in light of the developments on the ground, the ministrys spokesperson, Haitham, Qaisi, told The Jordan Times in an interview this week.
Stressing that the implementation of the strategy is on the right track and in line with a scheduled time frame, he said much progress has already been made in terms of increasing the number of Internet users, and boosting employment in the sector and its revenues.
Internet penetration currently stands at 30 per cent, up from 7 per cent in 2007 when the strategy was launched, Qaisi said, noting that the strategy seeks to raise the percentage of Internet users to 50 per cent by the end of 2011.
Qaisi said the ministry is currently focusing on efforts to increase Internet subscriptions in the Kingdom, which are estimated at around 14 per cent.
To increase the number of Internet users outside the capital and in remote areas, the ministry initiated the National Broadband Network project in 2003, which entails linking the countrys public schools through a fibre optic network to be used for providing Internet services to communities in these areas at low and competitive prices.
Some 30 per cent of the project has been completed and 800 public schools in the northern and central regions have been connected under the project, Qaisi said, adding that under the plan, Internet prices will be 50 per cent lower than the market.
As about 6,000 students graduate annually in different IT-related specialties and a majority of them are jobless, the ministry launched an initiative last year to recruit IT graduates who have been unemployed for two years.
The initiative, which is part of the ICT strategy that envisages increasing employment in the sector from 22,000 jobs to 35,000 by the end of 2011, has already benefited 500 students, according to Qaisi.
In addition, the strategy seeks to raise ICT revenues to 3 billion by the end of 2011, he said, noting that the sector generated 2.2 billion in 2009.
The National ICT Strategy is the outcome of joint efforts by the Information Technology Association of Jordan (int@j), the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology and the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission.
By Mohammad Ghazal