President Ilham Aliyev approved the Action Plan on the Year of Information and Communication Technologies in Azerbaijan last week.
2013 was declared the year of information and communication technologies in Azerbaijan in accordance with a presidential decree on January 16. Under the presidential order, the Communications and Information Technologies Ministry is the coordinator of relevant activities.
The Cabinet of Ministers of the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is assigned to provide realization of the activities related to the development and use of information and communication technologies in the territory of the autonomous republic and implementation of the measures to form e-government.
Azerbaijan's Cabinet of Ministers is charged to work out the issues pertaining to the action plan.
According to the action plan, it is planned to develop an ICT strategy, improve the registration procedure of the national domain.az , and significantly reduce fees for telecommunication services and internet access.
The action plan will be implemented in four main areas: implementation of organizational measures, improvement of the legal basis and management, strengthening the capacity of the ICT sector and development of information society and human resources.
The plan provides organization of the functioning of the State Fund for ICT Development, the High Technologies Park, Information Security Center, Virtual Qarabag ICT center, IT University, as well as an increase of the number of provided e-services and the range of users, improvement of the quality of broadband services, transition to digital broadcasting, and introduction of phone number portability.
The action plan also includes measures on increasing the number of e-kiosks in the Azerbaijani regions in order to increase the range of e-service users, measures on copyright protection on the Internet, development of distance education, introduction of an electronic queue and distribution of apartments. Creation of Wi-Fi zones in public areas, protection of children from harmful content online, improvement of the personnel potential in the ICT sector, conduct of national and international ICT forums, conferences and workshops are also envisioned by the plan.
Creating and operating a website on the ICT Year as well as conducting a first nationwide research and practical conference on cyber security is expected in April or May.
According to the ICT Ministry, in 2012, ICT revenues exceeded $1.7 billion, which is 18 percent more than in 2011. This rate in previous years was 25-30 percent and the main task is to maintain the figure at 20 percent. If this pace is maintained, earnings from the sector will reach $8-9 billion by 2020.