x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

A faster world

Plans by the UAE to improve broadband speed across the Middle East will solidify the country's position as a leading business hub in the region.

Next year, the UAE is set to launch a regional internet exchange designed to speed up web connections across the Middle East. Needless to say, this is good news for businesses and consumers everywhere in the region.

The UAE is increasingly becoming a regional hub for finance, technology, trade and education. But to really solidify its status as the go-to destination for global companies, the nation's communication infrastructure must keep pace. The proposed plan to speed up web connections is a step in that direction.

Currently, the region suffers from low broadband connection caused by the fact that much of the region's internet traffic is routed via Europe, the US and Asia. This takes time and is vulnerable to disruption. A UAE-based exchange can hedge against this.

Broadband ambitions are just part of Abu Dhabi's drive to transition into a technology and ideas leader. As The National reported in September, the capital is looking to become a hub for video-game creation. And in August, the emirate's media hub twofour54 announced it had invested more than US$2.5 million (Dh9.1m) for minority stakes in two Arabic online gaming companies, Tahadi Games and Jawaker.

Internet connectivity and software development: two small pieces of the broad knowledge-based economy the UAE is striving for.