Major events in Azerbaijani ICT in 2011
Azerbaijan, Baku, Dec. 26 / Trend H. Valiyev /
2011 was a very eventful year for Azerbaijani information and communication technologies. A large part of the events was the result of the work carried out previously in this direction.
Among the major events of the old year we can mention providing of all mobile operators with licenses for 3G services and the proposal to move to the next generation standard - 4G. This year Azercell and Bakcell mobile operators got 3G licenses. The companies could increase the number of 3G-subscribers to 500,000-700,000 users less than a month since the launch (late November).
We can also note the complete elimination of the contour system and the transition to monetary billing system of GSM standard mobile communication operators - Azercell and Bakcell. Previously, the only operator which billing system was fully charged with monetary units was Azerfon.
This year, a center of issuing electronic digital signature (EDS) was launched in Azerbaijan. The use of digital signatures will accelerate the development of electronic interaction. This will also contribute to the development of electronic services and electronic commerce. It is possible to get a digital signature on the whole territory of Azerbaijan, including the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic.
At present, the Azerbaijani ministries and agencies use the electronic services. Today, the number of electronic services available on the portal "Electronic government" reached 56 units and the number of state agencies connected to the portal is 15. The Azerbaijani ministries and departments are expected to fully render the electronic public services by the end of the first half of 2013. The portal is expected to be launched in March 2012. The total number of electronic services provided by departments of the republic is expected to hit 300. The portal will make it possible to reduce the number of documents requested from citizens, due to the fact that different bodies will cooperate with each other electronically.
Today, 85 percent of Azerbaijani population has access to the digital broadcast signal, which allows watching a benefits package that includes the main TV channels of the country. At the regional level, the number of broadcast channels in digital format reaches 12 units, and the number of channels broadcasted in digital format in Baku and Sumgait, is 24 units. The number of channels broadcasted in digital format in Baku and on Absheron peninsula will be increased to 40 units at the end of the first quarter of 2012. The broadcast of Digital TV is based on MPEG-4 standard. People must purchase decoders to pass to digital television standard.
Two loan agreements have been signed this year within the Azerbaijani first satellite launch - Azerspace. The first one is to finance the construction, the second one is to finance the launch into orbit. The total cost of the first satellite program in Azerbaijan is estimated at approximately $ 250 million.
The manufacturer of the satellite Azerspace, which will be launched into the French Arianspace at the end of 2012, is the U.S company Orbital Sciences Corporation. At present, the work on construction of satellite ground control station in Baku has been begun. The construction of the second station to be located on the territory of the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic, will begin from January 2012.
The foundation of implementing the second satellite program has been laid this year. The second satellite, which is projected to be launched 2015, will be low-orbiting. It will be used for remote sensing of Earth, mapping studies, geological studies, etc.