The country of Azerbaijan is adopting a very progressive space strategy, and is working with Measat Satellite Systems to develop a space capability. Azercosmos is the national satellite operator and the company’s chairman and CEO, Rashad Nabiyev, talks about how satellites could make a difference in Azerbaijan.
VIA SATELLITE: How important is it for Azerbaijan to have space capability?
Nabiyev: The government of Azerbaijan attaches great importance to this field. In 2011, the size of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) market in Azerbaijan amounted to more than $1.7 billion. The compound annual growth rate has been estimated to be 25 percent for the last five years and ICT has gained considerable impact in socio-economic life in recent years, which has placed it in the forefront of government policy and President Ilham Aliyev has declared it the second priority sector of the national economy. This is clearly indicative of the real prospect of the ICT-related growth and the urgent need to respond to the increasing demand for satellite-based information and communication services with decreased and affordable costs.
By integrating the advantages of space capabilities to the national development program, our government aims to bring the country into new heights of economic power, intellectual capacity and information security. Azerbaijan actively participates in a wide array of regional projects and international cooperation programs. The government of Azerbaijan is dedicated to carrying out programs and projects to become a regional leader in information transmission. Economic benefits and information security brought about by utilization of satellite technologies will further enhance Azerbaijan’s contribution to regional development and boost its international partnerships across various spectrums.
VIA SATELLITE: What can satellite technology bring to Azerbaijan? What are the main goals of the Azerspace project?
Nabiyev: With a population of more than 9 million and a terrain of mountains and plateaus, Azerbaijan has its own specific challenges in bringing connectivity to the people, especially to the population residing in remote and hard-to-reach mountainous areas. Satellite networks can be rolled out quickly and inexpensively to hundreds or thousands of locations, connecting cities or remote locations across a large landmass, where copper or fiber is cost prohibitive. Since satellite networks can be set up quickly, companies can quickly deliver new services to the market. Externally, satellite will introduce an enlarged gateway for the local companies into the world satellite services market and enable them to expand and develop new services and platforms to meet public demand.
Once in orbit, the satellite will provide broadcast and broadband services. For Azerbaijan, it is hoped that the creation of an independent satellite will help the country to assert itself more strongly and to develop economically. It will also eliminate the dependence of the country on other satellite networks and will provide the population of the country with high-quality TV and radio broadcasting. In addition, the government will be able to establish much needed Internet services. Satellite connectivity will change the way in which the country can deal with emergencies, obtain information and define ways of processing protection, distribution and use of space information both for civil and security purposes.