x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Download speed doubles as du outruns Middle East

Du doubles the speed of its broadband internet services, and offers the fastest internet in the Middle East.

The telecommunications operator du has doubled the speed of its broadband internet services, and is offering the fastest internet in the Middle East. Last September, du was the first in the region to offer internet with download speeds of up to 12 megabits per second (Mbps). At the time, it was three times quicker than the fastest internet available in the UAE. Yesterday, the company doubled its highest speed to 24 Mbps, 50 per cent faster than the best connection on offer from its competitor, Etisalat. It also announced that its customers would have their download speeds doubled at no extra cost.

Farid Faraidooni, the vice president for commercial affairs at du, said the new services were "a result of our continuous efforts to bring the very best available in broadband internet". Only a small proportion of internet users will be able to take advantage of du's new offering. The UAE internet market remains split into local monopolies, with customers unable to switch between providers. Users in the "new" areas of Dubai, such as Dubai Marina, Media City and Jumeirah Beach Residence, are served by du, with the rest of the country served by Etisalat.

Both companies say technical and logistical work needs to be done before they can support customers wishing to switch. Osman Sultan, the chief executive of du, has said that it would announce a number of major new broadband initiatives for fixed-line and mobile users by the end of the year. Etisalat is rolling out a national high-speed broadband network based on fibre-optic technology, which transmits information as beams of light.

The technology is capable of speeds of 100 Mbps and above, with almost no theoretical speed limit. But customers already served by the system can get a maximum download speed of 16 Mbps, 50 per cent slower than du's new service. Ahmed Darwish, the head of Tamdeed, the Etisalat subsidiary rolling out the network, has said that internet speeds were partly restricted by the availability of international bandwidth.

Etisalat and du are investing in new submarine cables linking the country to Europe and Asia, boosting the UAE's capacity for international communications. tgara@thenational.ae