Armenia Faces Communication Crisis

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenian scientists are seeking ways of ending the current crisis in the data exchange sphere which slows the development of science in our country.

The blockade deprived Armenian scientists of taking advantage of scientific literature causing them to break their ties with scientists abroad.

The Internet makes it possible to overcome the information blockade–however–Vladimir Sahakian assistant director of the Scientific-Research Institute for Information Science and Automation of the National Academy of Sciences of Armenia believes–that current restrictions in telecommunications have again resulted in a deadlock.

In an interview with Noyan Tapan–Sahakian stressed that despite the fact that the network of the National Academy of Sciences is currently connected to the Internet through three organizations–the Yerevan Institute of Physics (YIPH); "Infocom" and "Arminco"–the whole volume of data exchange cannot be ensured.

YIPH has its own satellite aerial of low capacity and can hardly serve the number of users it has. Consequently–no reliable and uninterrupted communication can be ensured.

"Infocom" and "Arminco" use "ArmenTel" channels whose volumes and capacity are far below satisfactory.

The National Academy of Sciences does not have the ability to communicate with the outer world on its own. The annual payment for using services of international providers is about $15,000–while ArmenTel charges twice or three times as much for the same service.

Minister of Post and Telecommunications Artak Vardanian told Noyan Tapan that the providers currently implementing outer communication at their own expense act illegally–as Armenia’s Law "On Communication" stipulates ArmenTel’s exclusive right to implement communication outside the country. The situation will continue as long as ArmenTel fails to meet the deman’s of its users.

Sahakian believes that in conditions of scarce natural resources and communication means–the development of information technologies should become a priority in Armenia–which will also promote the development of relevant branches of industry.

Sahakian said ArmenTel should be deprived of the monopolistic right and possibilities for free competition be created to break the current deadlock. "The government should take this step if it is really concerned for the country’s development and not for the enrichment of one separate company," he concluded.

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