Development of broadband infrastructure and digital economy

Where
Georgia
When
2020
Who
Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia
Describe the main features of the policy/measure: 

The Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia (MoESD) is a Policy Maker body in the fields of Telecommunications, Information and Innovation Technologies in Georgia. One of major objectives is to make the broadband internet and ICT technologies accessible for the population, entrepreneurs, and especially, for the SMEs. MoESD promotes an internet-driven economy and the digital development of the country. To this end, together with all stakeholders in ICTs, MoESD implements different reforms, projects, programs and activities

What are the results achieved so far through the implementation of the policy/measure?: 

* Georgia took important steps with the aim to accelerate the development of the Information Communication Technologies' (ICT) sector and digital society. In this context, a number of important reforms have been implemented, including the liberalization of the telecom market, the development of various e-services for Governmental entities, full transition into digital broadcasting, development of Next Generation Networks and LTE. It is worth to mention that due to some legislative changes in 2015 related to technological neutrality, the Georgian Mobile operators were given the opportunity to start providing the mobile LTE/4G broadband services. For the time being 90% of Georgia's territory is covered by the LTE/4G signal and 80% of the Georgian families has an access to the fixed internet services.
* Within the framework of the EU4Digital program, with the support of the European Commission and World Bank Group (WBG) was elaborated the "National Broadband Development Strategy of Georgia and its implementation action plan (NBDS)". NBDS adopted by GoG on January 9, 2020. The key objectives are to enhance the legal and regulatory framework for broadband development in line with the EU norms and overcome the digital divide across urban and rural areas. Targets of NBDS are in line with the EU's Gigabit Society objectives 2025 and in order to overcome still existing digital divide across urban and rural areas of Georgia are oriented to implement work on the following three directions: 1. Increase Competitive Pressure 2. Attract Investments; 3. Build Digital Skills & Demand.
Under the NBDS, number of important projects are already being implemented:
- The Government of Georgia has started the Broadband for All initiative. The Aim of the project is to cover white zones of Georgia with fibre optic network, and provide open access wholesale internet to the settlements with populations of more than 200 inhabitants.
- The Government of Georgia supports the deployment of community networks in less-densely populated areas (of under 200 persons) of Georgia. With support of the MoESD in mountainous and remote regions of Georgia the two community network project successfully completed in 2017 and 2019. Mentioned networks are handed over to the local community members;
- In order to accelerate deployment of high-speed electronic communications networks, MoESD drafted law of Georgia on infrastructure sharing and submitted to the Parliament of Georgia. The draft law considers measures, such as the sharing and re-use of existing telecom ready physical infrastructure, which are expected to create conditions for more cost-efficient network deployment.
* Georgia can take advantage of its geographic location and its well-rated business climate to host a regional digital hub, which will help address challenges of limited international data connectivity and development of domestic IT capabilities. MoESD actively explores the potential to host a regional digital hub and attract investment in the development of Digital Corridor and data centres, which could serve as a regional hub for South Caucasus and gateway of the EU and Asia.
* MoESD has commenced work on the "National Strategy on Online Safety", which will determine the measures to be implemented in the country for safe usage of the internet and protection from the harmful effects in the internet space (especially children).
* The MoESD and the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning of the Republic of Korea concluded the ''Memorandum of Understanding between on Cooperation in the Fields of Information and Communication Technology and Postal Services''. According to the MoU, the Korean side rendered financial and technical assistance and established the Information Access Center (IAC) for the people who are blind and with weak eyesight in Tbilisi at the end of 2016. The center is equipped with technical equipment, including braille font keyboards and all other technical facilities. The programs of the IAC have been tailored to the needs of the blind and with weak eyesight people as much as possible. Thus, persons with disabilities were given the opportunity to use all benefits of the ICTs.
* In recent years, the Government of Georgia has conducted successful reforms to develop a knowledge-based and an innovation-driven economy. With the main aim to increase the competitiveness of the country, promote higher value added industries, for new job creation and for the support of transforming new creative ideas into businesses number of programs has been implemented, including increased access to finance opportunities for individuals, scientists, innovators, startups and SMEs.
* With the support of the EU Georgian ICT Cluster was established, which is collaborative platform for the ICT industry stakeholders and supports the establishment of business linkages locally and internationally in order to increase the competitiveness of the Georgian ICT industry and ultimately contribute to the economic development of the country. Cluster aims that by 2025, Georgia will be a regional leader in ICT, Georgian ICT companies will go borderless (international), attract resources and sell globally.

Financial resources allocated to the policy/measure in USD: 

Not Available

Partner(s) engaged in the implementation of the measure: 
Name of partner
PUBLIC SECTOR; PRIVATE SECTOR; CSO-s
Has the implementation of the policy/measure been evaluated?: 
NO
Goal(s) of UNESCO's 2005 Convention
Cultural Domain(s)
Media Arts