Some 142.6 million manats ($182 million) were invested in Azerbaijan's information and communication technologies and postal communication sectors in January-September 2013, the ICT Ministry said.
According to the ministry, this amount exceeds the figure posted for the same period of 2012 by 22 percent and makes up 1.2 percent of the total volume of investments made in the country's economy.
The bulk of investments made by enterprises and entities of the ministry amounted to 39,867,400 manats (some $50,903,204), the ministry said.
Some 31 new automatic telephone exchanges were commissioned in Azerbaijan in the nine-month period. Moreover, 11 post offices, including two in the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, were built.
During the mentioned period, fiber-optic cables with a total length of 673.3 kilometers were laid, with 546.9 km of these laid by Aztelekom Production Association, 41.4 km by Baku Telephone Communication and some 85 km by privately owned companies.
During this period Aztelekom's numbering capacity was increased to 3,056 units. The figure for Baku Telephone Communication also increased to 12,064.
Currently, in Azerbaijan the total number of phones per 100 people is 18.65 units. In Baku this figure is 37.7 and in the country's regions it is 11.61, and in rural areas it is 7.21.
According to the ministry, the mobile phone penetration in the country remained at the same level of 110 percent.
According to the ministry, a project on developing broadband internet in Azerbaijan, Fiber-to-the-Home, which will cover a period up to 2018, will be presented to the Presidential Administration in the coming days.
This year some 103 million manats ($131.5 million) are expected to be allocated from the Azerbaijani state oil fund SOFAZ for the project's implementation. Funding of the project through SOFAZ will be continued next year.
The ministry plans to provide all areas of Azerbaijan with high-speed internet access by 2017. At present, 70 percent of Azerbaijan's population uses the internet and the penetration rate of broadband internet among the population is 50 percent.
The ultimate goal of the project is to supply the entire country including its distant rural areas with high-speed internet within the range of 10-100 Mbit/s, as well as bring the number of high-speed internet users to 85 percent. This will allow Azerbaijan to reach the level of developed world countries by 2017.
According to the ministry, in the nine-month period of the ICT Year in Azerbaijan 10.5 percent growth of the ICT sector as compared to the same period of last year was recorded.
The World Economic Forum's report "Global Information Technology 2013" ranked Azerbaijan 56th, improving its last year's results by five points on the Networked Readiness Index among 144 world countries.
According to the report, Azerbaijan ranks eighth in "Government's success in supporting ICT", ninth for "The importance of ICT in future outlook of the government", and 20th in "Internet access".