Information and communication technologies (ICT) are one of the priority directions of paramount importance in sustainable economic development of Azerbaijan. This sector holds leading position in innovative technologies and attraction of foreign and domestic investments compared to other sectors of the economy. On February 7, 2002 the joint project "National Information Communication Technology Strategy (NICTS) development and its initial implementation in the Republic of Azerbaijan" between the Government of Azerbaijan and UNDP was signed. Under this project National ICT Strategy for 2003-2012 was developed and approved on February 17, 2003.
The Strategy envisages:
- Forming a legislative base and its regular modernization
- Creating the modern ICT infrastructure
- Creating the national information system, forming the information resources
- Mobilizing financial resources and providing governmental support to the important projects and programs
- Using modern ICT in state administration and local self-administration
- Forming a new generation of human resources
The main regulatory institution in ICT field in Azerbaijan is the Ministry of Communication and Information Technologies (MCIT) of the Republic of Azerbaijan (www.mincom.gov.az) which was established in 2004 after approval of NICTS.
One of the main targets of the policy pursued by ICT sector was to expand the ICT infrastructure and up-date telecommunication infrastructure applying new technologies.
Recently established "AzDataKom" network with transmission rate of 10 Gbit/sec has considerably increased the potential of local telecommunication network. In order to expand existing fiber-optic network and provide its stable infrastructure, 317.4 km long fiber-optic cable lines were installed in 2008.
Volume of domestic investments in ICT sector yearly grows and it brings to establishment of new enterprises in different fields. There are more than 55 commercial organizations that play a role in the ICT sector of Azerbaijan. Part of existing commercial enterprises are infrastructure supporting companies, others are trade companies.
There are 5 mobile phone operators and 23 Internet providers in Azerbaijan. Service of 'BakInternet' and 'Aztelecomnet' state Internet providers ensures access of all regions of republic to Internet.
There are also ICT NGOs and Training Centers providing ICT training.
ICT researches are conducted mainly in Information Technologies Institute and Cybernetics Institute of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences, "Cybernetics" Special Constructor Bureau; IT institute and Constructor Bureau of Azerbaijan National Airspace Agency. Researches in ICT field are conducted also by Universities (ICT application in education process), by leading ICT companies (design and development of custom software), Ministries (e-Government, e- governance solutions, implementation of projects of high importance envisaging development of applications for creation of information society).
Research and educational network AzRENA is the network joining LANs of Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences (ANAS), Universities and other educational institutions.