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History of communication in Azerbaijan

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Communication has very ancient history in Azerbaijan, mail was delivered via messengers since ancient times.

Communication in Azerbaijan was implemented by messengers, camel caravans and etc. Mail in Azerbaijan was officially founded in 1501 by head of Azerbaijan Safavid State Shah Ismayil Khatai.

Creation of post in modern form dates back to the first half of  XIX century. 

 

1818

First post office was opened in Ganja

   
1860

Baku main post office was established attached to Baku province

   
1864

On January 21, first telegraph line connecting Nakhchivan and Julfa on the border of Iran was commissioned

   
1880

In December, first telephone line was built  in Azerbaijan by “Caucasus and Mercury”  steamship company. The line connected  the office of “Caspian” oil company in Baku port with  the society’s main office located  in Naberejnaya street. 

 

 

In  January, 1881 ‘Noble Brothers’ society applied to  Baku governor, general-lieutenant Pozen in order to obtain  permission for  construction of telegraph line and such a  permission was given on February 18. On November 23 of  the same year,  6-km long  first telephone line, connecting the chairman and senior engineer’s houses with the main office of Nobel Brothers’ society, was commissioned.

 

Officially, this line is considered the first telephone line in Azerbaijan, and the date coincides with the establishment of telephone communication.

 

1886

On May 26,  an agreement was signed  between Main Post and Telegraph Department  and Moscow first degree merchant Qustav Ivanovich List for creation of first centralized switched telephone network in Baku and commissioning it for 20 years

 

Centralized switched telephone network in Baku had 40 users
   
1900

Transportation of mail via railway started between Baku and Derbend

 

Centralized switched  telephone network in Baku had 1146 users

 

On December 29 ‘Noble Brothers’ society presented information, upon appeal of chief of Baku Mail Telegraph Office, on number, address of phone units, distances from ATEs. 

   
1918

Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan, first democratic state in East, was established on May 28.And from the first days of its establishment it did important work in the development of mail and communication.

 

Mail and Telegraph Ministry of the  independent Azerbaijan was established. First communication ministers were Kh. Melikaslanov, A.Ashurov and  J.Hajinsky.

   
1919

On March 1, Azerbaijan Telegraph Agency was founded

 

On March 15 exchange of money dispatches, precious letters, parcels and mail was implemented between Azerbaijan and Georgia

 

First Azerbaijan postage stamp on Azerbaijani soldier was issued on October 20

   
1920

Soviet power was established in Azerbaijan on April 28 and Mail and Telegraph Commissariat was established

   
1926

Radio broadcasting in Azerbaijan was aired regularly starting from November 6, first wired radio broadcasting was launched  for the first time

   
1953

Till 1953 communication in Azerbaijan was managed by permanent representative of the USSR Communications Ministry to Azerbaijan. In 1953, Azerbaijan SSR Communications Ministry was established. 

   
1956

On February 14, Baku TV center was launched, TV broadcasting (AzTV-1) started functioning in Azerbaijan for the first time

 

 

In late of  50’s of last century,  the issue of training of specialists in the field of communications became a current issue. In 1959, the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR adopted a decision to prepare  highly qualified specialists in  the field of communications  at  higher  educational institutions of the republic, first graduation ceremony  of engineers on speciality of telephone and telegraph communications held at  Azerbaijan Polytechnic Institute in 1965. On January 31, 1964 Baku TV Center  started rebroadcasting  of television programs from  Moscow central TV. Prior to  1968, TV broadcasting in the country covered  Shirvan, Goychay  and Ganja cities.

 

Heydar Aliyev and Azerbaijani communication

 

There is Heydar Aliyev stage in the development of communication in Azerbaijan as it is in all spheres.

 

Despite certain actions were taken during soviet time in Azerbaijani communication in the 60s level of this field in the republic was too lower than other republics of the union. Only after 1969 when national leader Heydar Aliyev started to lead the republic this field, like other ones, entered the stage of strong development.

 

 

1970-1980 years:

Major development era of communication in Azerbaijan happened in the 70-80s. Special attention to this field by Heydar Aliyev who led the country those years is widely reflected in official documents of those years.

 

Issue regarding the state of communication means in the republic and actions for future development was raised on June 24, 1970 in the office of Central Committee on the initiative and under leadership of Heydar Aliyev and historical decision was made. The decision considered state of phone communication unsatisfactory in Baku, Sumgayit, Ganja cities, noted in a number of district centers manual phone stations are in use, half of state farms and 25% of collective farms supplied with phone, set development and improvement of communication means as one of most important duties of Communications Ministry.

 

Construction of buildings for 16 communication centers in 1971-75, construction of ATE buildings by city executive committees, construction of 1 ATE building in Baku yearly, purchase of ATE appliances and construction of technological appliances by Communications Ministry, allocation of required funds for all this and implementation of other important actions were included in the decision.

 

In 1976 power of Baku phone net was increased over 20 times in comparison with 1927, phone had become an integral part of life of people in Azerbaijan.

 

In 1970-80s communication developed not only in Baku in regions as well. These years 5-floor special communication building was commissioned in Ganja where ATE with 8000 numbers, intercity ATE and telegraph and radio appliances were installed, ATE with 9000 numbers in Sumgayit, the one with 5000 numbers in Nakhchivan were commissioned, construction of ATEs in other cities and regions was implemented.

 

A duty was set before Communications Ministry of the republic to build ATEs with 164,4,000 numbers and mounting issues in 1974-1980s.

 

Volume of installed phone units in republic in 1980 was 279,1,000 numbers, 274,12,000 of which were ATEs.

 

Total number of subscribers of the city phone system was 234,7,000, which  was 1.4 times more in comparison with 1975.

 

Those years mail, telegraph and TV-radio transmission developed much. Post Office building by Railway in Baku, Communications House, buildings for communication centers in district centers and  more than 300 post office buildings were built then.

 

Project of New TV Tower that was to be built near old TV tower in Baku was approved by the commission created on the initiative of Heydar Aliyev in 1979 and construction started on October 1981. But because of some reasons commissioning of the unit was delayed and only after second arrival of national leader Heydar Aliyev to the leadership in the republic the tower was commissioned.

 

 

1993-2003 years:

Development of communication in the republic sharply declined in the years of 1985-1993, because of reasons which were known to everybody.

 

II stage started in the development of national communication of Azerbaijan due to direct care and attention by Heydar Aliyev who was elected President of the country in 1993.Due to wise policy of the leader of the country foreign investors were involved in country, a real turn started in development of communication.

 

From 1993 foreign communication companies such as Teletash and Netash of Turkey installed modern electronic ATEs in Baku, Sumgayit, Ganja cities and other regions, International Phone Station with 2000 channels was installed in Aztelekom PA, Republican intercity phone station with 6150 channels,  Bakcell providing cellular communication system due to the funds of Motorola, Azercell with Turkish communications  companies and other joint ventures were  created.

 

All this was new stage of development of Azerbaijan communication due to care and attention of Heydar Aliyev.

 

It is not by accident that country public and press called 1998 the year of turn in communication, year of technical revolution. Those years ATEs with 108,000 numbers were commissioned in the republic.

 

In 1998-2003 modern ATEs 40/41, 30/31, 50, 54, 56, 21/22, 27, 32 in Baku, as well in Ganja, Mingechevir, Barda, Yevlakh, Guba, Gusar, Devechi, Sheki, Gakh, Oghuz, Lankaran and other districts were built and commissioned, Nakhchivan AR was fully supplied with phone, all settlements in Azerbaijan were supplied with 1 phone at least.

 

Due to  the work done in 1993-2003 48.4% of phone system of  the  country and 100% of phone system of Nakhchivan AR were provided with electronic  system, number of main phone units that was 611,5,000 in 1991 was increased  up to 1 million, the republic joined Trans-Asia-Europe cable highway, all Baku villages and settlements, settlements in all regions were  provided with phone, all areas of country have  access to Internet, 80% of communication among stations in phone communication system was organized in digital form.

 

The approval of the order on the “National Strategy on information communication technologies for the sake of  development  of Azerbaijan Republic (2003-2012)”  by national leader Heydar Aliyev on February 17, 2003 was one of the most  important steps taken in the direction of the  development of  communication in Azerbaijan in 1993-2003 and at present policy being realized in the country was built  just on this strategy.

 

 

  Creation of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies

 

Against the background of rapidly development of high technologies, President Ilham Aliyev signed an order on February 20, 2004 on abolishing  Communications Ministry and establishing on its basis Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies.

 

It was an important step taken for future development of this sphere and creation opportunities for every citizen to enjoy modern information communications technologies.The development of ICT and its comprehensive application became one of major directions of Azerbaijan Republic on the way of forming  a new high technology and knowledge-based economy.

 

Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies, being responsible state body for this field and coordinator of relevant State Program, organized many-branched activities  in the direction of  upgrading of telecommunications infrastructure, application of new technologies, improvement of regulating functions, regulation and liberalization of  ICT market as well as enhancement of production potential of this sphere.

 

2004

On August 1, Baku city telephone network changed over to 7-digit numbering system

   

2005

Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan  "On Telecommunications" was adopted on June 14

 

On October 1, NGN- new generation of network equipment was introduced in Baku for the first time in Azerbaijan and CIS space

 

On December 30,  Azerfon LLC  was granted a special permit (license)  for the organization of  GSM mobile service. Thus, the third operator entered the market of mobile communication.

   
2006

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan signed  an order to establish a professional holiday of workers  in the field of  communications and information technologies. December 6  was announced a professional holiday of workers  in the field of communications and information technologies.

 

 

Azerbaijani President  Ilham Aliyev declared the  use of information and communication technologies in Azerbaijan a priority sector  at a conference held on February 13, 2007,  on the occasion of the third  anniversary of the  state program  on  "Socio-economic development  of Azerbaijani regions (in 2004-2008)”. More and more attention has been paid to the development of this sector since then,  application of information technologies in all spheres of life is  of great importance for the government,  because today  ICT plays  the role of catalyst   of  competitiveness and economic growth.

 

2008

Remote and small settlements of Azerbaijan were supplied with telephone for the first time in post-soviet area

 

A software for speech recognition  in Azerbaijani language  was created  as part of  project DILMANC

   

2009

Execution of the project  “National Computer” was  launched to increase computerization level in the country    

 

On December 21, 64th session of  the UN General Assembly passed a resolution related to Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway

 

Azerbaijan started to establish its space industry

   

2010

Electronization process of telephone network in the country’s regions was fully completed

 

Azercosmos OJSC was established

 

Post offices started rendering new banking-financial services

   
2011

Important work was  done in the direction of  building e-government in the country, state agencies started providing e-services

   
2012

State Fund for Development of Information Technologies was established.

 

On November 5, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev signed an order on establishment of High Technologies Park