SANA’A - The telecommunications industry has become as important to the modern world as the nervous system is for the body.
It has brought continents and nations closer to each other to the extent that almost all people are now familiar expression that the world is a small village.
This phenomenon increased even further with the introduction of global data networks or the World Wide Web and other multimedia technology.
The Republic of Yemen, unwilling to stay behind in this field, has gone to great lengths to acquire such technology, to increase access to computers and the internet, as well as extending the telecommunication network.
The internet was introduced in Yemen in 1996 through TeleYemen and the Public Telecommunications Corporation. Now, nine years later, the number of subscribers is 220,000, according to the Ministry of Telecommunications.
This is an outstanding achievement, when it is considered that there were only 920 internet users in July, 1997, and even that small number dropped to 840 later in the year.
And while the number rose to 2000 in October that year, the numbers leapt to a staggering 150,000 subscribers by April 2004.
In 2003, statistics show there were 140,000 computers in Yemen, or one computer per 1000 people. By the end of 2002 there were 248 Yemeni websites, 51 of which were for public departments, 15 for news sites, 24 for organizations and embassies, 91 for private companies, 23 for education, six for banks and insurance companies and seven for forums and services.
One survey run by the al-Hayat newspaper revealed the breakdown of the various categories that use the internet. Over three-quarters were men (76%), while across both sexes, half of all those who use the internet held a bachelor degree or higher.
In terms of the ages of those who use the internet, 40% were aged betwee21-25 years old, 31% were aged 26-30 years old, while 15% were aged 31-35 year-old.
The number of people working in the information sector totaled 25,500, in addition to 8000 persons who specialize in data processing. The latter hold certificates, either a secondary school diploma or higher.
In a stocktaking carried out by the Central Organization for Control and Audit (COCA) in 2002 of 656 government units, it turned out that there were 12,034 computers, of which 9968 computers in use and 2066 unused.
There were also 6590 printers, 171 local area networks, 355 servers, 435 hubs, 219 switchers and 36 routers.
The survey revealed that there were 2779 computers in use and 339 unused in the economic unit, 3135 computers in use and 1223 unused in the administrative unit, while 4054 computers in use and 494 computers were unused in the units sector.
In the field of telecommunications, the Public Communications Corporation has begun a project that aims to expand telecommunication services by installing 500,000 new fixed lines in cities.
A further 115,000 lines are planned to be installed in rural areas because until 2001, there were only 9970 fixed lines in those areas.
Copyright (c) 2004 - 2005
Yemen Observer Newspaper