The entire population of Azerbaijan will be provided with a broadband internet access, including mobile access, by late 2017, Azerbaijani Minister of Communications and Information Technologies, Ali Abbasov said.
He made the remarks at a meeting of the cabinet of ministers, held under the chairmanship of Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev, on Jan. 9.
The meeting was dedicated to the results of socio-economic development in 2013 and the goals ahead for 2014.
Abbasov said the priority plans of the Communications and Information Technologies Ministry for the next five years include issues of providing the population with digital television signals and completing the transition to a digital broadcasting standard.
The minister also said the important components will include the enhancement of export capacity via production of innovative goods and services, based on high technology and cyber-security, and increasing the number of electronic services, rendered for the population.
The growth rates of Azerbaijan's ICT sector in 2013 stood at 14 percent, the minister said. Last year this sector's total revenues exceeded $2 million. Internet penetration in the country remained at the same level - 70 percent. A 30-percent growth was recorded in the amount of wireless and stationary broadband services users.
The minister went on to add that last year, some 40-45 percent growth of digital content was recorded in the AzNET network. Growth in electronic trade in the last period stood at 50 percent. The number of e-services users in education and health care areas also significantly increased.
The population covered with digital television signals was 98-percent by late 2013 and now Azerbaijan is ready for transition to the digital broadcasting standard, the minister said.
Significant growth was recorded in e-services, integrated into the e-government portal (e-gov.az). Currently, 281 e-services out of 428 approved by Azerbaijani Cabinet of Ministers are available on this portal. Over the last year the number of visits to the portal stood at 262,000 and the number of services used by citizens over this period exceeded 730,000.
The minister said that the last year was remarkable for the launch of the Azerspace-1 telecommunication satellite. Since its commercial launch in July 2013, the income from satellite programs stood at $10 million, the minister said. Currently, over 60 TV channels are being broadcasted by the satellite.
Work has been concluded for preparation of the project documentation on launching a low-orbit satellite. The tender on launching the satellite will be announced shortly. The low-orbit satellite is scheduled to be launched in 2016 and the ministry's plans for 2017 include launching Azerbaijan's second telecommunications satellite.