Caspian Innovation Conference is being held this year for the first time as part of the Bakutel-2018, the 24th Azerbaijan International Telecommunications, Innovations and High Technologies Exhibition and Conference held on December 4-7.
It is planned to hold a conference annually as part of the international exhibition Bakutel.
The Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan has initiated the Caspian Innovation Conference. It will play the role of a regional platform to discuss opportunities for effective cooperation between all participants in the ICT sector, as well as challenges in the relevant field.
The reason for launching such an initiative was that, according to the calculations of the International Telecommunication Union, 52% of the world’s population or 3.7 billion people still do not have access to the Internet, and also because of the size and high cost of infrastructure that will be built or improved to eliminate digital divide and the introduction of developmental technologies.
It should be noted that according to the expectations of the International Telecommunication Union, roughly 450 billion dollars is required to ensure 1.5 billion people with communications.
And according to the GSM Association, 4.1 billion of the world’s population will use LTE services by 2020. In addition, in 2021, the number of users of 5G services will reach 740 million.
Along with this, in the absence of access to the open seas and the existing broadband Internet routes of most countries of Eurasia, digital communication solutions are of great importance in terms of contributions for business circles and citizens.
That is why the Caspian Innovation Conference, with the view of bridging the digital divide, examining the possibilities of digital connectivity for foreign investment and ensuring business efficiency, has brought together government representatives, industry leaders, officials of regulatory structures and international organizations, including heads of major regional telecommunications and satellite operators.
Speaking at the Caspian Innovation Conference, Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ramin Guluzade noted that the theme of the Caspian Innovation Conference, which was organized for the first time, was not chosen by accident. Because the introduction of new electronic services, innovative solutions in different regions of the world, including in the countries of the Caspian and Black Seas, in the first place, leads to the construction and consistent development of a sustainable infrastructure. He stressed that, given this, the theme of the current conference is “Digital communication in the name of sustainable development”.
The Minister noted that despite the dynamic development of the wireless broadband network, fixed broadband networks remain relevant.
“As you know, broadband wireless networks still consume less traffic compared to fixed networks and usually offer low speed and reliability. Additionally, increasing mobile data actually leads to an increase in demand for fixed networks. Broadband infrastructure, like electricity and water supply, is already considered a critical infrastructure, and the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan is taking consistent steps towards building a broadband infrastructure in the country, improving the existing infrastructure and ensuring its sustainability, implementing projects involving the wide use of GPON and LTE technologies”, - the Minister stressed.
The Minister also noted that due to the work is done, the number of mobile subscribers in Azerbaijan is 106 percent of the country’s population. Today, over 80% of the population of Azerbaijan are Internet users, 68% of households have computers. The number of broadband wireless network users is 73 percent.
The Minister said that according to the “Strategic Road Map for the Development of Telecommunication and Information Technologies in the Republic of Azerbaijan”, approved by the decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev dated December 6, 2016, it is planned to allocate a frequency range of 700-800 MHz for LTE services by 2020. “We are currently conducting technical preparatory work in this regard, as well as developing a package of proposals for changes in legislation in order to allocate radio frequencies through auctions according to international practice”.
According to Ramin Guluzade, the allocation of low-band frequencies through auctions for LTE services will reduce the investment costs of telecommunications operators, create conditions for the liberalization of the telecommunications market and wide use of LTE technologies.
At the same time, he stressed that the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan is initiating a number of projects that will contribute to the development of broadband infrastructure in the region, in particular, in landlocked countries.
“In this regard, I would like to particularly touch on the project Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway (TASIM) initiated by Azerbaijan and supported by three resolutions of the UN General Assembly. The purpose of the TASIM project is to build a transnational fiber-optic line covering Eurasian countries from Western Europe to East Asia. The project provides for the creation of the main transit link from Frankfurt (Germany) to Hong Kong. The network will bring together the largest information exchange centers in Europe and Asia. The implementation of the TASIM project will serve to bridge the digital divide in Eurasia, in particular in landlocked countries. I am sure that initiatives such as TASIM and the Caspian Innovation Conference will contribute to the development of digital solutions and regional cooperation in the region”, the Minister added.
Minister of Communications and Information Technology of Afghanistan Shahzad Gul Ayrobee expressed gratitude to the Azerbaijani government for such an important initiative. He also gave detailed information on the work carried out in his country in the field of innovations.
Minister of Communications and Information Technologies of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mohammed Javad Azari Jahromi said that the use of innovations in the ICT industry creates opportunities for dynamic development. Today, startups define the main contours of the innovative development of the world, including Iran. Our startuppers have created more than 10 thousand applications. “We regularly discuss the issues of cooperation in providing the necessary support to startups with Azerbaijan. We express our gratitude for the initiative of holding such a conference and hope that it will be long-term, and I would like to note that Iran will support this international event”, the Iranian Minister said.
Minister of Transport and Infrastructure of the Republic of Turkey Mehmet Cahit Turhan praised the latest innovations presented at Bakutel 2018. The Minister said that Turkey welcomes the development of Azerbaijan in all areas, including the ICT sector.
Vice President of Huawei Technologies Greg Fox emphasized that digitalization of industry is underway all over the world. Organizations and government agencies are key participants in this process. According to him, observations suggest that the world economy will develop rapidly by 2020.
Then the conference continued with plenary sessions on the following topics: “The Role of Broadband in Sustainable Development: Challenges and Opportunities”, “The Future of Broadband Mobile Internet: 5G and Beyond”.
The plenary meetings were attended by heads and representatives of the Department of Information and Communication Technologies and Development of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, University of Cambridge, Russian office of Nokia, Türk Telekom International, Cisco Systems, “KazTransCom”, Türkcell, Türksat, Wavenet Group of Technologies and others.