Nº 4 2013 > WSIS Forum 2013 - Success stories from partners
Azerbaijan's role in improving connectivity in Eurasia
Most of the remote and underdeveloped areas of Eurasia are landlocked or located far from broadband highways, depriving their inhabitants of access to telecommunications and to information and communication technologies (ICT).
It is unfeasible for such countries to build their own terrestrial networks to reach global highways, even if they have permission from all the countries they would have to pass through. Because of limited connectivity between countries, intra-regional traffic has to be routed through irrational paths, leading to unnecessary interconnection costs.
Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway
Establishing infrastructure to provide international connectivity is a must for Eurasia. Recognizing that regional connectivity solutions can enable countries to achieve economies of scale by offering reduced costs and better quality of services, and having discussed possible options for enhanced regional connectivity, the Government of Azerbaijan proposed that Eurasian and neighbouring countries should jointly build and manage a trans-Eurasian information super highway.
On 21 December 2009, the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted a first resolution (A/RES/64/186) on “Building connectivity through the Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway”. Co‑sponsored by 30 countries and adopted by consensus, the resolution acknowledges the role of Azerbaijan in coordinating the superhighway. A second resolution (A/RES/67/194) on the same subject, unanimously adopted by the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly on 21 December 2012, establishes the Eurasian Connectivity Alliance, which is expected to realize the synergies of governments, private sector and international development organizations in expanding telecommunications and ICT networks, broadband backbone and access.
The Eurasian Connectivity Alliance is to be coordinated by ITU and will bring together the efforts of many different stakeholders to provide strategic assistance and support to projects such as the Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway.
Because of its mandate and expertise, ITU is well placed to serve as a common forum for facilitating the sharing of experience among partners that are helping countries to realize the potential for developing regional broadband backbone networks.
Aims of the information superhighway
The Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway will be a major element of the East-West transport corridor, facilitating access to the Internet, telecommunication systems and e‑information resources for 20 countries of the region, and enabling them to develop e‑economies.
A major new transit route will be built from Frankfurt to Hong Kong, connecting the biggest exchange points in Europe. A lot of fibre-optic infrastructure is already in place. New fibre-optic routes can be developed in line with national telecommunication infrastructure development plans, and old routes can be upgraded technologically to allow for their integration into the Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway.
Closing the digital divide
The Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway will help to further develop knowledge-based economies and support an information society in the region. It will also favour the integration of Eurasian countries into the global economy.
In order to establish the Eurasian Connectivity Alliance, Azerbaijan will work with the United Nations and ITU, and conduct bilateral meetings with United Nations Member States. By promoting the Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway, the Eurasian Connectivity Alliance can help to accelerate the achievement of the connectivity targets set in the Millennium Development Goals, as well as outcomes envisaged by the Broadband Commission for Digital Development and by the World Summit on the Information Society. Implementing the Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway will be a big step forward in closing the digital divide.