New phase of modernization of communication systems in Turkmenistan includes several main projects

While presenting important document, the Programme of further social and economic development of Turkmenistan for the next seven year that was adopted at the Council of the Elders in October 2017, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov outlined the modernization of the system of the government regulation, implementation of scientific and technical innovations and establishment of national branch of electronic industry among specific tasks and objectives.

In general, new Programme for 2018 – 2024 stipulates intensive industrialization of the country what as for today is not possible without active processing of colossal volumes of the information and efficient exchange of data. In other words, the progress of XXI century is impossible without advancing development of communication networks and channels.

General accessibility to the Internet in our country will give an opportunity to increase the growth of national economy, the Head of the State highlighted while giving targeted guidelines in this direction. According to rough calculations, 100 billion different devices starting from mobile phones to medical units, scientific equipment, production aggregates, transport vehicles and other will be connected to the Internet around the world by 2045.

Overall computerization and connection to the Internet will lead to fundamental changes in our life and work, great number of functions will automated. Competent use of modern information technologies became the necessity for Turkmenistan under transition to market economy. Our country, having entered the way toward innovative development, set number of objectives in order to keep up with the times. Following this, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov requested Deputy Chairmen of the Cabinet of Ministers, the Mejlis of Turkmenistan and the Academy of Sciences to elaborate special programme of the development of internet network and electronic systems in our country.

At the same time, large work for technical support of the fulfilment of these objectives and formation of the infrastructure meeting their scales is expanded. The Ministry of Communication of Turkmenistan is commencing several large projects aimed at the establishment of comprehensive communication system based on advanced technologies, increase of volume, quality and variety of communication services together with the access of broadband internet in the remote places of the country.

Globalization of market space and application of information technologies are based on use of the information as the main strategic resource, Head of the State Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted. Digital and computer systems connected to network infrastructure became an important factor of the development of society and the method of improvement of the efficiency of different branches of the economy.

In this regard, information market presenting data products and communication services has to be one of the main sectors of modern economy of Turkmenistan. Operation of this market will make positive effect on the development of other branches and on macroeconomic processes in general.

New phase of modernization of communication systems in Turkmenistan stipulates several projects, where everyone of them is aimed at certain segment of the branch. For example, the first project is aimed for the development of mobile communication in the country. Taking into account growing demands of the population, National operator Altyn Asyr is to provide comprehensive and widespread coverage of this type of communication around Turkmenistan including 3G, 4G and in near future 5G high-speed internet and other services. After completion of this project, the coverage in the country will make 100 percent.

It is planned to procure (on top of 3000 units of existing equipment) 577 units of basic radiobroadcasting equipment working in 2G, 3G and $G standards for this. There are 101 units of 2G standard designated mainly for voice communication, however its signals spread farther than 3G and 4G signals. That is why this standard is preferable for provision of the rural areas with cellular communication.

168 units of equipment will be 3G standard, which provides video calls along with the voice as well as high-speed internet and data transfer without connecting to the land access point. Another advantage is that the subscribers will be allowed to stay connected all the time without worrying of the payment as it is charged for the traffic but not for the time.

The most part, 308 units are of 4G standard designated for super-speed internet, however, its signal cover relatively small areas and antenna equipment requires frequent adjustments. It is just the capital where 114 4G base stations will be installed, what will increase the existing capacity of this standard by half. The 4th generation technologies of cellular communication can also be used in telemedicine, distant education, transport control, security and protection of public order, etc.

It is worth reminding that President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov approved the Concept of the development of digital educational system of Turkmenistan in September 2017. It is planned to establish the Centre of Innovative Information under fulfilment of this decision, which functions will include integrated development of the methods of e-learning including digital manuals, books, video and audio learning aids, interactive and multimedia programmes, etc. The Centre will also study the world achievements in science and education as well as work over making the encyclopaedias and dictionaries.

The Head of the State noted that implementation of digital education system would provide equal opportunities regardless of where someone lives for receiving quality education meeting national and international standards and requirements of modern information community. It will also stimulate the citizens for additional and ever-growing education, improvement of professionalism using distant methods and the attraction of innovative resources to the economy and other spheres for prosperity of the society and progress of the Motherland. The development of high-speed internet communication in the country meets comprehensively this objectives.

Participation of independent consulting company that has experience in cellular and line communication, radio frequencies spectrum, optical networks is an integral component of this and other related projects. Technical specification based on existing infrastructure will be prepared with experts and consultants.

The second project is targeted for the development of line telephone communication and not just digital telephone stations but modern systems supporting Next Generation Networks standards when one outlet would be able to provide voice, IP-TVand the Internet. At the same time, the information is transferred and commuted by packages, while voice, data and video can be communicated in any combination regardless of the access.

526 telephone stations based on NGN-solutions are planned to be built around Turkmenistan. This technology has such advantages as high economy at large volumes of the traffic, which is achieved by the reduction of operation expenses, wide spectrum of communication services, high-speed data transfer and capability of merging of different networks, etc.

It is planned to replace outdated digital stations in Ashgabat under this project. Integrated IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) Platform with 70 648 subscription around the capital will be installed instead. It will allow the provision of new services designated for simultaneous use of different traffic like voice, data and multimedia. Subscribers of IMS network will have integrated package of services for fixed and mobile units and one number for different applications.

The operation of the network will be provided by peripheral communication hubs – 54 remote digital telephone stations with high-level software, which will be connected to the central station. In other words, its capacity is distributed via mini-stations at the sites without laying the cables over big distances. While NGN-concept network combines all segments of fixed line systems, the IMS framework adds the segment of cellular networks.

Installation of multiservice billing platforms is planned for Ashgabat Telephone Station. Billing is an automated system of the payments for communication services. In other words, the software calculating the cost of communication services for each subscriber and storing the information about all tariffs and other cost characteristics, which are used by telecommunication operators for invoicing the subscribers and settlement of the payments with other service providers.

Multipurpose billing platforms allow the payment of not only the Internet, communications and IP services but also the services provided by other departments such as utilities, traffic fines, etc. New billing system will be designated for 1 million subscribers.

It is not new for Turkmenistan, however there is the requirement in expansion of similar platform, which is installed only in big cities. Totally, 183 684 new telephone outlets will be installed under the development of line telephone network with 113 036 of them in the velayats where 470 new digital automated telephone stations will be built. Modern communication services will be available for rural citizens, which social and living conditions improvements were outlined by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov as the main objectives of the programme of the development of the regions.

The next project is the modernization of international and intercity telephone station in Ashgabat operated by Turkmentelecom. All communication channels go to this central hub where transit connection with communication lines of other cities and countries is carried out.

Current building of the station and its equipment are technically outdated as the telecommunications and automation of the processes in this sphere are always developed, new units and electronic control machines are implemented and new services appear. Hence, it was decided to change the station to IMS technology in order it would be able to provide the clients with required world-standard services. It will allow combining the transfer of voice traffic with the services based on package commutation.

What are the advantages of new generation networks comparing with the existing one in Turkmenistan?

The main one are the transfer to the Internet Protocols during transfer of all types of traffic and non-requirement of using two ports of subscriber capacity for provision of voice and Internet access with higher speed, video and conference calls capability and other.

The forth project is designated for the development of electronic services. It stipulates the creation of local high-speed network on the following levels: around Ashgabat, Ashgabat – velayat centres, velayat centres – etrap centres, etrap centres – farmers associations.

At present moment, the speed of data transfer in Ashgabat is approximately up to 20 Gb per second, however in near future it is planned to make data channel with 100 Gbps in Ashgabat, 40 Gbps in velayat centres, 10 Gbps in etrap centres and 4 Gbps between etrap centres and farmers associations.

It is planned that the ministries, city administrations and departments will lay optic fibre cables to the buildings and living houses in Ashgabat and other settlements of the country at their own expenses for unstoppable provision of telecommunication services to the consumers as well for increase of data transfer speed.

This project, aimed at improvement of the quality of Internet services, will also allow considerable improvement of the exchange of inter-agency information and introduce new types of electronic services. During its implementation, it is planned to establish national data centre – the centre of storage and processing of the information, installation of server and network equipment and connecting of the subscribers to Internet channels.

The data centre will process, store and distribute the information for the interests of corporate clients – it is oriented at the solution of business objectives by provision of information services. At present, every ministry is trying to automate its control system. The consolidation of cyber resources and data storages in unified centre will allow reducing total cost of the ownership of IT-infrastructure by efficient use of technical means and reduction of administration expenses.

This project stipulates the establishment of Single Window service – multifunctional centre allowing the access to official services presented by the main departments and organizations. This principle allows reducing the time of service provision, cutting financial expenses during administrative procedures, saving time and improving the comfort of the client. This is another step toward the formation of wide system of electronic documents turnover and electronic government, which process was initiated by Leader of the Nation Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.

Necessary technical equipment will be installed and work of the departments of electronic mail communication will be arranged in rural areas for provision of the access to electronic services by the residents of etrap centres. Reliability and security of the system of information channels will be provided by laying of circular fibre optic lines in the velayats.

Identification cards, replacing internal passport, will be introduced for the citizens of Turkmenistan who will be able to use full spectrum of electronic services. ID cards is an official document identifying the person and containing personal information about the holder including his photo, personal number, sample of signature, biometric data.

The development of e-services requires the development of relative software in every ministry and agency where specialized innovative and new technology departments will be founded. The urgency of training of qualified specialists for provision of the protection of electronic systems from cyber-attacks is growing.

Besides, the objectives of the development of electronic industry of Turkmenistan and the system of electronic services in the country stipulate the establishment off import substitutive production of technical devices monitoring the consumption of gas, water, electricity, equipment and appliances necessary for the operation of internet systems, Wi-Fi routers, modems, IP receivers, etc.

The fifth projects is related to the expansion of FM broadcasting. Today, some rural areas do not have radio coverage. Currently, 90 units of radiobroadcasting FM equipment operate in the country for broadcasting of national radio channels. To provide 100 percent coverage of entire country, it is planned to install 217 FM radio transmitter of different capacity.

Various forms of wireless communication receive wide application as the result of rapid development of communication technologies. It is necessary to control the usage of radio communication systems for provision of coordinated work of such systems. That is why, the sixth project stipulates the improvement of the activity of the State Service for Control of Radio Frequencies under the Ministry of Communication. If there is no order in use of radio frequencies spectrum, it will lead to overlapping and disturbances. It is planned to procure and install stationary and portable radio direction finder, which will detect incorrectly working sources of radio broadcasting.

It is planned to establish the State Automatic Management System for Monitoring and Control of Use of Radio Spectrum (ASCURS) in Ashgabat, Balkanabat, Dashoguz, Turkmenabat, Mary and Turkmenbashy.

It will give an opportunity to control radio frequency spectrum around the country, planning and efficient use of calculation of electromagnetic compatibility of radio electronic devices.

The Law of Turkmenistan of Radio Frequency Spectrum defines the radio frequency spectrum as the aggregate of radio frequencies lower than 3000 GHz used for organization of electronic communication without application of artificial wave conductor on the territory of Turkmenistan. Radio frequency spectrum is national resource of Turkmenistan and it is necessary to use it rationally and efficiently due to its limitations.

Control of the use of radio frequency spectrum includes the reflection of different technical and administration standards that guarantee non-admission of negative impact of the equipment of different services on each other.

ASCURS will aloe making database for precise calculation of the frequencies and electromagnetic compatibility, fixing radio frequencies and automating the processing of the complaints about radio interferences as well the fulfilment of international agreements of radio frequency spectrums, etc.

General approaches and principles of the organization, functioning and monitoring of the processes of the operation of the systems of fixed and wireless communication, telecommunication networks, etc. will be developed during realization of these activities. The fulfilment of the plan will allow considerable increasing the quality of life of the population including the rural one, efficiency and competiveness of national economy, its full-format integration to the world market and investment attractiveness.

The presence of such plans has already risen the interest of the leading foreign investors including the Islamic Development Bank – international financial organization in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia).

According to the agreement, the Islamic Development Bank will finance the main part of the super project “Modernization of Internet System” of the Ministry of Communiation of Turkmenistan, having allocated credit line up to 20 years. By the way, this decision was promoted by another successful investment project in communication development accomplished by our country with the participation of the Islamic Development Bank. Strictly following partnership’s obligations and terms of crediting became forcible argument in favour of this decision. Back then, in 2002 – 2005, the IDB has financed the construction of fibre optic line Ashgabat – turkmenabshy and construction of digital station in the capital. According to the investors, this project played the great role in selection of the partner this time.

Today, investment attractiveness of Turkmenistan is stipulated not only by grandiose reserves of energy resources. The analysis of social and economic indices of life level of the population, which growth is the result of the policy led by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, is an integral element of its evaluation by international business circles. New projects for the development of communication system and telecommunication technologies are aimed at improvement of the standards of living of Turkmen people, its wealth and prosperity.