Azerbaijan 2012 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Ramazan Valiyev, Director of Delta Telecom, on establishing high-speed network infrastructure and developing a data center.

Ramazan Valiyev
Ramazan Valiyev was born in 1966, and began working at the Department of Communication at the Ministry of Internal Affairs in 1992. He has been Director of Delta Telecom since 2000.

How did Delta become Azerbaijan's primary provider of ICT services?

The company was founded in 2000 and we began to work on the establishment of a corporate network. Our first major project was the construction of a Satellite HUB station, and we put into operation the VSAT Network—a satellite communications network—the same year we started our operations. That was a very successful project that opened important doors for us. Delta Telecom has created the biggest internet backbone in the Caucasus region, providing international access via fiber optics and satellite channels. This IP backbone infrastructure provides the optimal management of high-speed internet capacities, and traffic sharing happens through high-capacity routing platforms. To provide high-capacity communication services we built DWDM, SDH, and Metro Ethernet networks. These projects have contributed to the company's growth and helped us to gain a regional reputation and become a reliable global partner. Also, in 2010 Delta Telecom started building a data center with the aim of developing internet resources in Azerbaijan. This data center is currently operating at 10% of its capacity and we have plans to further develop local internet resources. Delta Telecom will also secure communication services for Eurovision, which will be one of the most important events in Azerbaijan in 2012.

What are the main strategies Delta Telecom is implementing to develop its data center, and what is the importance of such infrastructure?

In our network a few years ago we imported most capacities for regional internet users. After building a data center we not only import capacities, we also produce national internet resources. Our infrastructure uses the most modern and high-level technology. It is set to become the biggest in the Caucasus region. Our data center offers businesses and individual customers web hosting, an email application, domain support, virtual servers, and special dedicated servers, TV channels over the internet, and data backup and restoration. We are currently developing the data center and we are planning to steadily expand its capacity.

What impact will Azerbaijan's accession to the Europe-Persia Express Gateway (EPEG) project have?

The EPEG project is a high-capacity, low-latency cable system that will link Frankfurt, Germany, to Oman via Russia, Azerbaijan, and Iran. Delta Telecom is taking part in the project on behalf of Azerbaijan, after reaching an agreement with the other EPEG partners: Iran's TIC, Oman's Omantel, and Rostelecom of Russia. This project will become a reality by mid-2012 and will play an important role in expanding the capacity of the internet in Azerbaijan and increasing the volume of internet capacities. It is a key project for the country, because it will support the existing submarine cable lines. It is expected to link the EPEG project's Middle East networks to European networks over terrestrial areas of around 4 Tbps.

How would you evaluate Azerbaijan's role as a regional technological hub in the future?

Azerbaijan is a very suitable place to become a regional hub, both geographically and economically. Also, the policies implemented by the Azerbaijani government at the international level are definitely contributing to the establishment of our country as the main regional hub. Investment is flowing into the country in many different sectors, with ICT a leading attraction, thanks to the political stability the country is enjoying. Therefore, the business environment is perfect for foreign companies to open operations in the region and establish Azerbaijan as a regional center.

How would you rate internet implementation and usage in Azerbaijan?

Delta Telecom is committed to bringing the highest standards of internet services to Azerbaijan, with a particular focus on fiber optics. In that regard, we are implementing a project that will see the installation of hundreds of kilometers of fiber-optic cables across Baku that we expect will cover most buildings in the city. Our best customers are internet service providers (ISPs), and we are working closely with them on such projects. This system is definitely going to boost internet usage in Baku. Also, the implementation of projects like this one, as well as the consolidation of 3G services across the country, will increase data transfer volumes. Altogether, we expect 2012 to be a very important year for the sector, with data taking off and a potential 40% increase in the number of broadband users in Azerbaijan.

What are Delta Telecom's main growth strategies?

Since the company was established more than 10 years ago, we have experienced a growth rate of about 40% every year. Our main target is to keep up that kind of growth for the next three to four years, because the sector is still young and offers interesting opportunities for the companies involved in it to develop further services and strategies. At the same time, our company is seeking to develop its relationship with foreign companies. Regarding ongoing projects, the data center and the implementation of the EPEG project will definitely be the focus of our attention in 2012. Along with such important growth, the company has been expanding its manpower and we currently employ 150 people. That will continue to be a trend in the near future because we expect to hire around 200 more staff just for the EPEG project. In that regard, we have started to work along with the Azerbaijan Technical University and Alcatel to provide specialized training courses.

What is the significance of Delta Telecom securing the online resources for Eurovision 2012?

Delta Telecom is a communications partner of Eurovision 2012, and we are working very hard to provide the best communication and internet services for the event and its participants and guests. We will be providing broadcast services for the entire world during the contest.