Turkmenistan - Information and Communication TechnologyTurkmenistan - Information Technology
OverviewIntegrating information technology into all segments of society is one of Turkmenistan's top priorities. The Turkmen government emphasizes computerizing classrooms and is introducing high-end educational software, particularly in universities and secondary schools. For example, the government has provided a laptop computer to children entering the first grade for the last five years. One of Turkmenistan's key projects is to provide and expand Internet access; however only 25 public Internet centers exist in the country and users are required to present personal identification to use the Internet. Politically sensitive websites and social network websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and WeChat are generally blocked. There are no private or foreign Internet providers in the country. The general receptiveness to new IT applications is low due to the exodus of trained engineers and technicians and the low level of technical training currently available in Turkmenistan’s institutes and universities. The Law “On legal regulation of Internet development and Internet services in Turkmenistan” was adopted in December 2014. Independent sources acknowledged that the new law could allow for more Internet access, but raised concerns about the restrictive regulations, including disproportionate limitations on online content for overly broadly defined activities, such as making users liable for the truthfulness of all information posted by them. The law also defined the promotion of violence and cruelty in a very imprecise way. Turkmenistan plans to build a fiber-optic line across the Caspian Sea that will increase speed and upgrade quality of the link between Europe and Asia. According to media reports, Azerbaijan is also working on the project.
Turkmenistan’s telecommunications sector is a work-in-progress. There are nearly 700,000 subscribers to the fixed-line service and more than 6 million subscribers to mobile service. Turkmen Telecom, the state owned enterprise, is the primary provider of public telephone, email and internet services. TM-Cell, a subdivision of Turkmen Telecom, operates a GSM mobile network in competition with a subsidiary of the Russian-based MTS. However, the telecommunication sector of Turkmenistan lags behind those of other CIS countries. According to the UN eGovernment Survey 2014, Turkmenistan’s Internet usage is at 7.2 per cent of the population (see other indicators in the table below).
Table: Telecommunication Infrastructure Index (TII) and its components
per 100 inhabitants
President Berdimuhamedov raised the idea of e-government in 2010. In April 2010, he signed a decree instructing the Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Communications to start introducing e-government systems. No significant progress has been made since that time and the process of moving to e-government is very slow. It is not clear how the government defines e-government, as no details have been published. However, based on local media reports, e-government will include establishing electronic document management systems and the creation of a fiber-optic communication system between the Cabinet of Ministers and other state agencies. In 2011, President Berdimuhamedov authorized the creation of a National Space Agency to monitor satellite communication, and to conduct research. Also in 2011, the Ministry of Communications signed a contract with French company Thales Alenia Space to construct and launch Turkmenistan’s first communication satellite. American Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) was awarded a contract with Thales Alenia to launch Turkmenistan’s first telecommunications satellite into orbit. The launch took place in April 2015.
Sub-Sector Best ProductsTV and broadcasting equipment; space technology; communication technology, computer hardware; computer software; basic computer skills training; and Internet services.
OpportunitiesMany sectors and industries of Turkmenistan, including education institutions, health, textile, and manufacturing, continue to function using paper-based systems and require computer hardware and software. In addition, there is a need for basic computer training for children and adults. There is also demand for Information and Communication Technologies for major ongoing projects such as the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games 2017, the Ashgabat International Airport and the Turkmenbashy International Seaport.
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Turkmenistan Information and Communication Technology Trade Development and Promotion