Governor of the Communications, Space and Technology Commission (CST) Dr. Mohammed Altamimi has said the commission is striving to stimulate investment and enhance positive competitiveness in the information technology market and emerging technologies through a solid infrastructure that contributed to covering more than 3.6 million homes in the Kingdom with optical fibers.

Altamimi said the penetration rate exceeded 60 percent of residences, and the number of fixed high-speed internet subscriptions increased to more than 2.3 million by the end of the third quarter of this year. He made the remarks while addressing the 10th Saudi Arabia Smart Grid Conference in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Altamimi said the broadband coverage rate reached 99 percent of the populated areas in the Kingdom, with an average speed exceeding 369 megabits per second. “The penetration rate of mobile communication services rose to 168 percent by the end of the third quarter of 2022, with a growth rate of more than 20 percent compared to the same period last year,” he said.

The CST chief highlighted the efforts made by the commission in the digital infrastructure that supports the applications of emerging technologies such as smart networks by spreading the Narrowband Internet of Things (NB-IoT) technology network in the Kingdom through more than 20,000 towers that support this technology with a coverage rate of more than 95 percent of urban areas. It provides the ability to connect more than 500 million IoT devices in the Kingdom.

Altamimi said the commission is still making efforts to create a regulatory environment that stimulates the adoption of emerging technologies, as the Information Technology and Emerging Technologies Strategy (BOOST) was launched in 2020 with ambitious targets to bridge the identified main gaps based on extensive surveys of the supply and demand sides of the market.

He also pointed out the launch of 16 regulatory initiatives, most notably the launch of the experimental regulatory environment for emerging technologies, which aims to enhance the positioning of innovative and promising business models that rely on emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things, blockchain, virtual and augmented reality, and cloud computing.

According to the CST chief, the commission is also working on more than 33 enabling projects, such as the initiative to support the listing of local technology companies in the financial market, where a number of awareness workshops were held in partnership with Tadawul, which contributed to the listing of nine new information technology companies, with a growth rate of up to 400 percent compared to last year, in addition to stimulating the cloud computing market.

He noted that the number of entities registered with the commission to provide cloud computing services has reached 31, an increase of three times over last year, including three global computing companies or hyperscalers.