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On the results of work done in 2017 in the field of transport, communications and high technologies

 

Significant work was done in 2017 to successfully fulfil the tasks set in the field of transport, communications and high technologies, to improve service quality and to extend the application of electronic services.

 

 By the Order No. 2669 of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Mr. Ilham Aliyev “On the establishment of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan” dated February 13, 2017, Ministry of Transport of the Republic of Azerbaijan were merged with the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan , and the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies was created on their basis to improve the public administration system in Azerbaijan, to bring the country’s state policy in the field of transport and communications and high technologies into compliance with modern requirements, and to increase the effectiveness in this area.

 

Like other countries in the world,  Azerbaijan also pays a great deal of attention to the development of transport, communications and high technologies, increasing of availability of transport and communications services to the population,  modernization and diversification if the transport and communications infrastructure, expansion of the application of new services, including e-services, development of innovative entrepreneurship

 

Significant work was done in 2017 to improve the quality and coverage of telecommunication services for the population, as well as to implement new technologies. Thus, a new project was launched to provide high-speed internet services to apartment buildings. In order to increase the coverage of broadband services through the use of GPON technology, GPON equipment with a total capacity of 30,000 subscribers was installed and commissioned, and optical cables were laid to 27,000 apartments. Currently, 2,678 GPON users are being provided with broadband services. With the implementation of this project, people and organizations gained access to a 1 Gbit/s and faster internet service.

 

Within the framework of measures implemented in our country for the development of tourism, Public WiFi was launched in 18 parks in Baku and the project was fully completed. Free internet service is now available in these areas. Also, monitoring of the Call Centre was carried out in test mode at the Baku Telephone Network, and 155 and 169 Call Centres were put into operation.

 

Based on the world telecommunications experience, the Baktelecom Network Operational Centre was established to monitor IP, voice, transmission networks and internet traffic.  The centre provides prompt response to emerging problems.

 

To implement LTE service in Baku and regions, including in remote villages, a feasibility study was conducted and a pilot project was prepared for building a wireless network, preliminary test-trials were conducted and preparatory measures were taken to allocate frequencies and obtain a license.    

 

The IP-based International Switching System was fully commissioned to improve the quality of international voice traffic and ensure continuity of communication, direct technical interconnection channels were set up between more than 30 international operators operating in Europe, Asia, America and Africa. The latest technologies and alignment systems were used for this purpose.

 

In the background of the implemented measures and growing demand, the total capacity of the country’s international internet channels increased by 30 Gb/s to 580 Gb/s, and 200 Gb/s of this capacity is exported to the neighbouring and regional countries. Today, Azerbaijan is a country transiting traffic across the region.

 

To ensure the stability of communications in the regions of the republic, the quality of technical maintenance of a network covering around 100residential areas was improved. Capital reconstruction works were carried out in the network of Khachmaz region.  Outdated stations were removed from the network and modern equipment was installed there to increase the quality and coverage of broadband services. Telecommunication facilities were built in Jalilabad region, including in Jalilabad city, Goytepe settlement, Alar, Jalayir, Garazanchir, Astanli, Khanagah, Uzuntapa and Gunashli villages, to expand service opportunities, and relevant  measures were taken to bring the network into compliance with technical standards.  

 

In accordance with the Decree of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On measures to restore the Jabrayil District's Jojug Marjanli village, liberated from the Armenian occupation” dated January 24, 2017, a 10 km optical cable line was laid, modern EATS equipment was installed and an internal line network was built and put into operation within a short time to provide the village with telecommunications services.   

 

1,170 direct interconnection channels connecting the international station to Ganja, Lankaran, Guba, Sheki, Shirvan, Sumgayit, Absheron, Barda, Mingachevir and Nakhchivan cities were setup to provide the alternativeness of the intercity station in the regional telephone network. 

 

Work is underway to develop projects for reconstructing networks in Masalli, Absheron, Sumgayit and Ganja regions and to implement the pilot project on “Application of wireless broadband technologies (WTTx) in regions.” 

 

As a result of implemented measures, 42 new type electronic automatic exchanges were put into operation in Baku and reginal telephone networks in 2017, extension works were carried out in 34 electronic automatic exchanges, the fixed telephone network’s capacity was increased by 9.3 thousand numbers, the total circuit capacitance of broadband internet ports in the fixed telephone network of the republic was increased by 64.3 thousand units and 552.0 km long fibre-optic cable was laid.  

 

Measures were implemented to improve information security, provide cyber security and to form a secure internet environment. Within these measures, seminars and trainings on the safe use of the Internet by children and adolescents were held, analyses of Azerbaijan’s generic internet traffic were conducted, necessary technical measures were taken to protect population, state and private organizations from cyber threats emerging as a result of the use of electronic devices and citizens were given methodical assistance in this respect.

 

Measures were taken to eliminate the consequences of more than 300 cyberattacks launched in 2017 against Azerbaijan’s generic traffic, as well as against the internet traffic, information resources, servers and networks of organizations, businesses and enterprises.  

 

During the reporting period, the National Internet Award NETTY 2017 was held with the support of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies. This competition serves to create new websites in Azerbaijan’s internet space and to encourage activities aimed at increasing national resources.

 

In order to increase ICT awareness of the population, various social groups, civil servants and employees of state organizations, free courses on topics such as “The door to the ICT area”, “Digital Marketing –  advertise yourself on the internet” for the latest innovations in the digital marketing, “Server Administration” and “Electronic government” for representatives of the state and private sectors,  “Youth and the Electronic Government” for representatives of youth organizations, “The use of  the Electronic Government Portal and electronic signature” for employees of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies’ organizations and etc. were held. At the same time, trainings on using various software applications were organized for persons with physical disabilities, members of martyrs’ families and low income families within the framework of the “ICT for all” project.

 

At present, there are 15 fixed network subscribers per 100 people, 63 subscribers per 100 households and 106 mobile subscribers per 100 people in Azerbaijan.  78% of the population is internet users, and 72% - broadband internet users.

 

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, Azerbaijan ranks 34th out of 137 countries in the number of internet users per 100 people, with an average of 1.7 times the global average and 1.2 times the CIS average.

 

During the reporting period, legal entities were provided with 10,000 new prefixes for fixed-line telephone services and 6 3-digit and 10 4-digit numbers for responding to requests and inquiries.

 

At the same time, 216 special permits were issued for civil turnover of different types of equipment and 1611 Certificates of Compliance were issued to different types of telecommunication facilities and installations.

 

The “PochtTap” project was launched in order to expand the range of services and increase citizens’ satisfaction.  With the realization of the project, favourable conditions were created for delivering lost documents found in the territory of the country to their owners.   

 

In order to improve the quality postal services and to expand their coverage 12 post offices and  5 mailing agencies were launched in the reporting period.  At the same time, a number of additional measures were taken to expand the infrastructure of postal-financial services.

 

During 2017, 3 digital TV transmitters and 3 FM radio transmitters were installed in the northern part of the republic to improve the quality and expand the coverage of TV-radio broadcasting throughout the country.

 

In addition, in order to ensure the stability and continuity of digital television broadcasting, analogue transmitters that fell into disuse were reconstructed and converted to digital transmitters, and 10 reserve transmitters were installed in regions.     

 

HD broadcasting of 2 television channels (Public TV and Khazar TV) was started to ensure the broadcasting of television programs in a more modern format. At present, 99.6% of the country's populated territory is covered with open package (10-12 TV program) digital television broadcasting.  

 

A Data Centre, which meets the highest security requirements, was built in Azerbaijan. The Data Centre was awarded TIER III (99.99% reliability) high security certificate. Thus, Azerbaijan was the first country in the South Caucasus region to have a certified Data Centre.

 

Thanks to the Data Centre, state organizations, physical persons and legal entities had been provided with cloud technology services, including storage, network, computation, allocation and other services, since January 2017.  The Data Centre is the most effective solution for state and private organizations in terms of safe and affordable data protection, budget savings, centralization and efficient management principles.

 

Also, the “Shebeke” service centre was launched as a new project in the reporting period. The purpose of this project was to ensure that telecommunications, internet, postal and other communication services rendered by the ministry’s subordinate organizations are provided from a single source in a centralized manner, to minimize the official-citizen contact through the use of modern equipment and payment terminals, to ensure transparency in the provision of services and to prevent procrastination and time loss.  At present, “Shebeke” service centres operate in Sabail, Binagadi, Yasamal and Khazar districts of Baku, as well as in Jalilabad and Zagatala regional centres. Work is underway to open “Shebeke” service centres in Yasamal district of Baku and Sumgait city.     

 

Promotion of electronic governance is one of the key factors in protecting human rights and freedoms and promoting democracy in the country. In this regard, substantial work was done to form the Electronic Government in the country. The development of the Electronic Government contributed to the improvement of public administration mechanisms in the country, provision of transparency and meeting the society’s needs for information products and services. The Electronic Government enables the provision of information and electronic services to physical persons and legal entities by state agencies using modern information technologies.

 

During the reporting period, important work was done to commission the Electronic Government Portal, improve electronic services, create and commission new electronic services, reduce the number of documents required for electronic services, integrate information systems of state organizations and to connect information systems and resources to the portal. As a result of these measurers, 91 organizations were integrated into the Electronic Government Portal, over 58 million appeals for electronic services were made and the number of e-service users reached 2 million 100 thousand.           

 

During the reporting period, 39 new e-services of central executive power bodies were integrated into the Electronic Government Portal. So, the number of services on the portal reached 437.  The number of certificates that were issued by 9 state agencies via the portal was increased by 2 pcs. and reached 18. The number of e-signature certificates issued by the Ministry’s National Certification Services Centre was increased by 23,322 pcs. compared to the beginning of 2017 and reached 124,000.

 

In 2017, e-GovPay payment terminals, the newest technological equipment, were installed throughout the country, and active collection of payments through the system began. Thus, compared to January 2017, the volume of monthly collections increased 21 times in December and reached 6.6 million manat.     

 

For the successful implementation of the Mobile Government Model in our country, the “Electronic Government Portal” mobile application running on Android devices was updated and 5 new electronic certificates were added to the “Electronic Certificates” section. So, the range of services was expanded on the portal during the reporting year. At present, 25 different types of electronic mobile services and 11 different types of electronic certificates are provided to citizens through the “Electronic Government” mobile application. The mobile application provides citizens with information about various payment services and fines.  

 

Work is underway to develop an administrative and legislative basis for Open Government Data, which is an essential component of the Electronic Government and heralds a new stage in its development.  A new version of the “Open Government Data” portal (https://data.e-gov.az/) was presented on 21 November 2017. The number of open data records in the new version of the portal was increased from 25 to 654.  Open Government Data was made available to citizens and business organizations, and a legislative basis for the Open Government Data field was developed.    

 

In October 2017, the “İctimai TV” channel started broadcasting a new TV program called “Electronic Government”. The purpose of the TV program is to educate citizens by providing them with detailed information on the advantages of electronic government, electronic services, rules of their use and activities carried out with the aim of developing the Electronic Government in the country.

 

The development of internet and broadband services in the country was reflected in the reports of international organizations. Thus, in the ”Global Innovation Index 2017” report, which was published in 2017 through the joint collaboration of the World Intellectual Property Organization, Cornell University and The Business School for the World,  Azerbaijan moved up 3 points in the Global Innovation Index and took the 82nd place among 127 countries of the world.    

 

According to the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, Azerbaijan moved up 2 points and ranked 35th out of 137 countries of the world in the Global Competitiveness Index. Thus, Azerbaijan was able to maintain its leading position in the Global Competitiveness Index among the CIS countries. According to the same report, Azerbaijan moved up 11 points and ranked 33rd in the Innovation Index.  

 

Because of its favourable geographical location, the Republic of Azerbaijan plays the role of a bridge between Asia and Europe. For the same reason, the country plays an important role in the operation of the East-West and North-South transport corridors passing throughout Eurasia. Azerbaijan invests heavily in improving its competitiveness in this area. Large-scale infrastructure projects are implemented in the country and in the region to this end.

 

On 30 October 2017, the opening ceremony of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was held at the Baku International Sea Trade Port with the participation of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and a number of country leaders. The first train departed from Baku to Kars. The railway will play an important role in increasing the volume of multimodal transportation of cargoes from both European and Asian countries.

 

At the same time, the opening ceremony of the Ro-Ro Terminal of the Baku International Sea Trade Port was held with the participation of the country’s leadership.  The first phase of construction of the port is scheduled to be completed by mid-2018.

 

During the reporting period, important policy and regulatory work was done in the following directions: the integration of the automobile transport complex of the Republic of Azerbaijan into the international automobile transport system, bringing the legal framework of automobile transport links and transit traffic into compliance with international standards, expansion of cooperation in the field of international automobile transportations between Asia, Europe and major world markets, increasing the level of security in international roads and enhancing  the transit potential of our country.   

 

Thus, within the optimization of the public transport, a Transportation Hub was created in the territory of the Baku International Bus Terminal Complex with the aim of ensuring the efficiency of transportation of passengers from surrounding residential areas, towns and settlements to Baku and insuring concentration of buses arriving/departing from/to regions in this centre.     

 

As a result of these measures, which were implemented together with the Baku Transport Agency, the quality of passenger transportation service was improved, and the service was brought into compliance with the legislation requirements. At present, citizens coming to Baku can get to the required destinations in the city by subway and railroad, as well as by buses departing regularly from the territory of the Transportation Hub.  

 

During the reporting period, serious measures were implemented to upgrade outdated buses running on the route lines. Work is underway to optimize routes providing in-country passenger transportation in cities of the country, coinciding and ineffective bus routes are being cancelled, and new routes meeting the population’s needs are being opened.  

 

As part of measures aimed at improving the efficiency of automobile passenger and cargo transportation and ensuring strict observation of safety rules, raids were carried out in the administrative territories of the cities and regions of the republic with the participation of the relevant state agencies, 297 administrative violation protocols were drew up in connection with violations of transportation rules and drivers were educated on the importance of carrying out transportation operations in accordance with the requirements of the existing legislation.    

 

During the reporting period, important measures were implemented to more effectively address citizens’ appeals and to more effectively organize their reception.  Reception of citizens in the Ministry's office, subordinate associations and organisation, consideration of incoming applications, complaints and other appeals from citizens and improvement of service culture was always in the centre of attention.

 

In order to view on the spot the level of transport, telecommunications, internet, postal, television and radio broadcasting services and to learn about the problems faced by citizens, Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies held 12 meetings and received 197 citizens from 64 cities and regions of the republic in accordance with the relevant instructions of President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the approved schedule. The majority of the issues raised by citizens were solved on the spot. Some of the appeals were registered, and instructions were given to the relevant structures of the Ministry for their consideration and resolution.

 

The operation of the Ministry’s 1655 Call Centre in 24/7 mode was ensured in order to improve the quality of services provided to the population in the field of transport, communications and high technologies and to promptly eliminate possible malfunctions. Of the 35,385 appeals received by the Call Centre, 12,091 were complaints and 23,294 were inquiries.