Project Oxygen Comes to Yemen [Archives:1997/45/Local News]

November 10 1997

Sponsored by the Ministry of Communications, a presentation was made on Sunday, November 9th, on Project Oxygen. The key person was Mr. Neil Tagar, Chairman and Executive Officer of CTR Group Ltd. Dubbed as Super Internet, the project involves a new highway for communication worldwide based on a complex network of 275,000 kilometers of mainly undersea optical fiber cable, with 264 landing points in 174 countries. This will allow the establishment of eight loops worldwide, which means that any break in any circuit or loop will allow immediate alternate channelling of communication. “The initial landing point envisaged for Yemen is Hodeidah, but we are anticipating a second landing point at Mukallah,” explained Enginer Ahmed Al-Anisi, Minister of Communications. He also indicated that the cost will come down to almost 1% of the present levels, he disclosed. Project Oxygen, estimated to cost US$ 14 billion over the next five years, will feature a minimum of 100 gigabits per second transmission capacity on every segment. Mr. Neil Tagar, who is the architect of the project, promised enormous price reductions in this system. Although he did not specify exact price/subscription structures – both of which will be determined in a crucial meeting to be held in Las Vegas during 7-11 December, 1997, he did indicate that in compraison to present costs, Project Oxygen will mean real savings. The project is oriented towards telephone companies, which are steadily losing market and revenue to internet facilities. Project Oxygen will not only enable telecommunication companies to retain their market share, but also to expand and diversify services and facilities offered to their users and customers. At another level, by offering a service that is based on multi-polar structures, Project Oxygen dilutes the monopoly that certain countries, especially the USA, hold over present communication channels. “For example, for a Singaporean person to call somebody in Kuala Lampur over the internet, the connection has to go through the USA. This is a matter of concern for future use,” Tagare said. Where does Yemen stand on all of this? “We are, of course, delighted with this new development. The costs are lower, the services are better and more diverse, and we are able to immediately link up,” said Minister Al-Anisi. The Republic of Yemen already has a one-thousand kilometers network of fiberoptics. This is envisaged to rise to 2,000 kilometers in less than a year. “Getting hooked up on Project Oxygen requires a fiberoptics network, which we already have in many parts of the country,” Al-Anisi added. The Yemeni Public Communications Corporation, alongwith 200 other similar organizations, have signed up to go to Las Vegas. “We are overly excited,” said the minister.