Communications has a very ancient history in Azerbaijan, mail was delivered via messengers since ancient times.
Communications in Azerbaijan was implemented by messengers, camel caravans and etc. Mail in Azerbaijan was officially founded in 1501 by head of Azerbaijan Safavid State Shah Ismayil Khatai. Creation of post in modern form dates back to the first half of XIX century.
In January, 1881 ‘Nobel Brothers’ society applied to Baku governor, general-lieutenant Pozen in order to obtain permission for construction of telegraph line and such a permission was given on February 18. On November 23 of the same year, 6-km long first telephone line connecting the chairman and senior engineer’s houses with the main office of Nobel Brothers’ society was commissioned.
Officially, this line is considered the first telephone line in Azerbaijan, and the date coincides with the establishment of telephone communication.
In late of 50s of last century, the issue of training of specialists in the field of communications became a current issue. In 1959, the Council of Ministers of the Azerbaijan SSR adopted a decision to prepare highly qualified specialists in the field of communications at higher educational institutions of the republic, first graduation ceremony of engineers on speciality of telephone and telegraph communications held at Azerbaijan Polytechnic Institute in 1965. On January 31, 1964 Baku TV Center started rebroadcasting of television programs from Moscow central TV. Until 1968, TV broadcasting in the country covered Shirvan, Goychay and Ganja cities.
Heydar Aliyev and Azerbaijani communication
There is Heydar Aliyev stage in the development of communication in Azerbaijan as it is in all spheres.
Despite certain actions were taken during soviet time in Azerbaijani communication in the 60s level of this field in the republic was too lower than other republics of the union. Only after 1969 when national leader Heydar Aliyev started to lead the republic this field, like other ones, entered the stage of strong development.
Major development era of communication in Azerbaijan happened in the 70-80s. Special attention to this field by Heydar Aliyev who led the country those years is widely reflected in the official documents of those years. Issue regarding the state of communication means in the republic and actions for future development was raised on June 24, 1970 in the office of Central Committee on the initiative and under leadership of Heydar Aliyev and historical decision was made. The decision considered state of phone communication unsatisfactory in Baku, Sumgayit, Ganja cities, noted in a number of regional centers manual phone stations are in use, half of state farms and 25% of collective farms supplied with telephones, set development and improvement of communication means as one of most important duties of Communications Ministry.
Construction of buildings for 16 communication centers in 1971-75, construction of ATE buildings by city executive committees, including construction of 1 ATE building in Baku yearly, purchase of ATE equipment and construction of technological equipment by Communications Ministry, allocation of required funds for all this and implementation of other important measures were included in the decision.
In 1976 power of Baku Telephone network was increased over 20 times in comparison with 1927, phone had become an integral part of life of people in Azerbaijan.
In 1970-80s communication developed not only in Baku in regions as well. These years 5-floor special communication building was commissioned in Ganja where ATE with 8000 numbers, intercity ATE and telegraph and radio equipment was installed, ATE with 9000 numbers in Sumgayit, the one with 5000 numbers in Nakhchivan were commissioned, construction of ATEs in other cities and regions was implemented.
A duty was set before Communications Ministry of the republic to build ATEs with 164,4,000 numbers and mounting issues in 1974-1980s.A plan in connection with the construction and commissioning of new ATEs was approved, and it allowed to obtain new achievements in the field of communications.
The volume of the installed telephones in republic in 1980 was 279,1,000 numbers, 274,12,000 of which were mini ATEs.
Total number of subscribers of the city phone system was 234,7,000, which was 1.4 times more in comparison with 1975.
Those years mail, telegraph and TV-radio transmission developed much. The construction of Baku Railway Post Office, Communications House, buildings for communication centers in regional centers and more than 300 post office buildings were built then.
Project of 310-meter New TV Tower that was to be built near old TV tower in Baku was approved by the commission created on the initiative of Heydar Aliyev in 1979 and construction started on October 1981. But because of some reasons commissioning of the unit was delayed and only after second arrival of national leader Heydar Aliyev to the leadership in the republic the tower was commissioned.
Development of communications in the republic sharply declined in the years of 1985-1993, because of reasons which were known to everybody.
II stage started in the development of national communication of Azerbaijan due to direct care and attention by Heydar Aliyev who was elected President of the country in 1993.Due to wise policy of the leader of the country foreign investors were involved in the country, a real turn started in the development of communications.
From 1993 foreign communication companies such as Teletash and Netash of Turkey installed modern electronic ATEs in Baku, Sumgayit, Ganja cities and other regions, International Phone Station with 2000 channels was installed in Aztelecom PA, Republican intercity telephone station with 6150 channels, Bakcell providing cellular communication system due to the funds of Motorola, Azercell with Turkish communications companies and other joint ventures were created.
All this was new stage of development of communication in Azerbaijan thanks to the care and attention of Heydar Aliyev.
It is not by accident that country public and press called 1998 the year of turn in communication, year of technical revolution. In those years ATEs with 108,000 numbers were commissioned in the republic.
In 1998-2003 modern ATEs 40/41, 30/31, 50, 54, 56, 21/22, 27, 32 in Baku, as well in Ganja, Mingechevir, Barda, Yevlakh, Guba, Gusar, Devechi, Sheki, Gakh, Oghuz, Lankaran and other regions were built and commissioned, Nakhchivan AR was fully supplied with telephones, all settlements in Azerbaijan were supplied with 1 phone at least.
Due to the work done in 1993-2003 48.4% of telephone network of the country and 100% of telephone system of Nakhchivan AR were provided with electronic system, number of main telephone that was 611,5,000 in 1991 was increased up to 1 million, the republic joined Trans-Asia-Europe cable highway, all Baku villages and settlements, settlements in all regions were provided with telephones, all areas of the country have access to the Internet, 80% of communication among stations in telephone communication system was organized in digital form.
The approval of the order on the “National Strategy on information communication technologies for the sake of development of Azerbaijan Republic (2003-2012)” by national leader Heydar Aliyev on February 17, 2003 was one of the most important steps taken in the direction of the development of communication in Azerbaijan in 1993-2003 and at present policy being realized in the country was built just on this strategy.
Creation of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies
Against the background of rapidly development of high technologies, President Ilham Aliyev signed an order on February 20, 2004 on abolishing the Ministry of Communications and establishing on its basis Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies.
It was an important step taken for future development of this sphere and creation opportunities for every citizen to enjoy modern information communications technologies. The development of ICT and its comprehensive application became one of major directions of Azerbaijan Republic on the way of forming a new high technology and knowledge-based economy.
Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies, being responsible state body for this field and coordinator of relevant State Program, organized many-branched activities in the direction of upgrading of telecommunications infrastructure, application of new technologies, improvement of regulating functions, regulation and liberalization of ICT market as well as enhancement of production potential of this sphere.
Creation of the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies
Creation of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies