Malta, in recent years, has become increasingly popular as a destination for everyone, from holiday goers to party lovers and history buffs. It’s increasingly becoming well known for its technological advancements too.
If you’d asked me about Malta 5 years ago, I wouldn’t have had a clue what to say. The country wasn’t nearly as talked about back then as they are now. However, since then I’ve been to the island twice, once in 2014 and again in 2016. If you’ve ever been to the country, you’ll agree it doesn’t take long to fall in love with it. Warm, North African sunshine, beautiful Mediterranean waters and the food… oh, the food. Best known for the Maltese sausage, rabbit and Ftira bread, there’s no shortage of Italian inspired dishes to compliment them.
But alas, this isn’t a food blog. Instead, I’d like to show you some statistics about the island’s internet sector.
- 100% broadband coverage (total) compared to the EU average of 98%
- 100% broadband coverage (rural) compared to the EU average of 93%
- 100% NGA (superfast) coverage (total) compared to the EU average of 76%
- 100% NGA (superfast) coverage (rural) compared to the EU average of 40%
- 99.5% 4G coverage compared to the EU average of 84%
Pretty impressive. They’re not resting on their laurels either.
The Maltese energy company, Enemalta (a play on words, not an unpleasant sounding trip to the doctors), is investing in their infrastructure. They’re partnering with Streamcast Technologies, a private IP cloud operator, and building a datacentre in the town of Marsa. The main purpose of this being to build on existing underground connectivity, as well as its fibre optic capabilities worldwide.
They will then continue their investment, with approximately £67million going into building datacentres around the globe. Enemalta’s executive chairman, Fredrick Azzopardi made comments on how their business development team are looking to keep up this international cooperation. They look to further diversify their global datacentre portfolio and their presence in other areas too.
A good example of the other areas we are talking about here includes the private sector. Professor Cachia, of the University of Malta, has seen “significant growth” from the gaming industry, betting and online portals. Growth that could be thanks in part to the impressive quality of graduates and their spread of expertise, and the university’s ICT faculty. Faculty staff have helped to supply the island with a torrent of expertise, evident from their participation in EU-funded projects.
One particular project, that was started in 2010 and finished in 2012, was called ICT Venturegate, a brainchild of the nation. The aim of this project was “Innovative solutions for enabling efficient interactions between SMEs in ICT projects and innovation investors”. It was co-ordinated by Paragon and resulted in an information gateway aimed at investors. This was coupled with a target of innovation investments by way of a virtual agency. E-training was also provided for SMEs looking to build on their investment financing capacity.
Building on an already established list of National Contact Points (NCPs), the idea focuses on the needs of those NCPs in the network. It also aims to provide solutions to the needs of Third World Countries and their ICT issues.
5 years later and ICT Venturegate has spawned another project, currently in the works, called Idealist 2018, due to be finished by 2020. Building on an already established list of National Contact Points (NCPs), the idea focuses on the needs of those NCPs in the network. It also aims to provide solutions to the needs of Third World Countries and their ICT issues. By utilising their management techniques, strategic collaborations, and continuing to review and monitor the process, Idealist 2018 aims to satisfy certain objectives, including:
- Reinforcing the ICT NCP network by promoting trans-national co-operation
- Identifying and promoting best practices amongst NCPs
- Raising awareness for NCP services that benefit cross-border audiences
Malta, with an area size of just 122 square miles (smaller than the Isle of Wight), is proving that a small country can make a big impact. The country is a hidden trove of technical wonders that continues to punch above its weight. You may be wondering how this applies to your company? Well, technology is changing quicker than ever before, with startups looking to disrupt the market at every turn. Continuing growth in such an age requires flexibility, foresight and investment, which the island nation realises and builds upon.
I recently wrote a blog on cryptocurrencies. Whilst I didn’t personally talk about various legal issues surrounding them, the government of Malta has been thinking about this contentious subject. They have published a discussion paper enveloping the topic, showing they are even looking at the blockchain and Fintech market.
Just a note on Marsa: there’s a very interesting, prehistoric burial site nearby called The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum that I recommend seeing, should you find yourself there.
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