Phone operators etisalat and du have paid Dh400 million to the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Fund.
The figure represents one per cent of the companies’ revenues in 2006 and 2007.
The cash will be used to finance research and technical development projects in the field of information technology and telecommunications, said Ahmad Humaid Al Mazrouie, Chairman of trustees. The fund was set up to promote research, development, education and training in the UAE’s ICT sector.
And he said the ICT Fund and Ruwad were considering providing technical and financial support to a number of small- and medium-sized enterprises involving university students. Technical committees will be set up to evaluate research projects.
The ICT Fund will cover 75 per cent of the budget of each approved project.
Mohammed Al Ghanim, Director-General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) and vice-chairman of the ICT Fund’s trustees, said the fund was already providing finance for medium-sized and small enterprises in the IT and telecoms sector.
Total funding of up to Dh600 million was available and universities, schools and research centres were being invited to submit projects for study and evaluation.
Al Ghanim said 20 projects had already been examined and initial approval had been given to five.
Ahmed Mohammed Al Midfa, vice-chairman of Ruwad, stressed the importance of the MoU, which covered the provision of technical and scientific support for youth projects.
“Ruwad is a government establishment that transforms ideas into real projects,” he said.
“It supports projects through its own finance or via national banks. Small projects supported by Ruwad receive exemption for up to two years from paying charges to the Ministry of Labour and Sharjah’s Economic Department and Chamber of Commerce.
He added: “Ruwad finances 30 projects including four in the IT and telecom sector.”?
NEW STANDARDS FOR ANTENNAE
Al Ghanim said the TRA is to lay down new standards for the installation of antennae over homes.
He said the presence of telecom masts on high buildings around the country did not pose a danger to health.
Both etisalat and du were committed to installing antennae on high locations to avoid any risk.
“The RTA is drawing up standards for the height of antennae and their quality,” he said. “The standards are due to be ready by the middle of 2008.”
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