The intergovernmental agreement on laying the fiber-optic backbone cable line through the bottom of the Caspian Sea between Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan on the Trans-Caspian backbone project with the participation of the internet backbone provider AzerTelecom, which connects Azerbaijan to the international Internet network, was approved by the Government of Kazakhstan.
The intergovernmental agreement “On organization of activities by communication operators of Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan in relation to the joint construction of fiber optic transmission lines along the bottom of the Caspian Sea on Azerbaijan-Kazakhstan route, their ownership, and use” signed on 19 March 2019, was ratified by the Azerbaijani parliament in April this year and was approved by President Ilham Aliyev. On May 17, the above-mentioned agreement was approved by the government of Kazakhstan as well.
In accordance with the document, the laying of the Trans-Caspian backbone cable will be carried out by AzerTelecom Company, a subsidiary of the country's first mobile operator Bakcell from the Azerbaijani side, and from the Kazakhstan side, it will be carried out by Kazakh telecommunication operators - Transtelecom and KazTransCom companies. For this purpose, a Consortium has been established and formed a Joint Working Group in connection with laying of the Trans-Caspian line with the total length of 380-400 km, as well as a joint contract has been signed for its construction.
The Trans-Caspian backbone project, implemented within the Azerbaijan Digital HUB program of AzerTelecom Company, envisages the creation of a digital telecommunication corridor (Digital Silk Road) between Europe and Asia. The purpose of the project is to create a digital corridor that will pass through Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan from Europe to China through Azerbaijan-Kazakhstan route and, thus, transmit Internet traffic to Central Asia and China.
The TransCaspian fiber-optic highway project implemented within the framework of the Digital HUB program, will have a very special role in the development of a fiber-optic cable infrastructure of a large region in the whole, in providing high-speed Internet access and advanced digital services to Caucasus, Central Asia and South Asia, as well as to other surrounding regions. Implementation of the project will also contribute to the "Belt and Road Initiative" (BRI) project, initiated by China and will transform Azerbaijan into a telecommunication corridor of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
AzerTelecom is one of the largest telecommunication operators in Azerbaijan and the South Caucasus region and is the subsidiary of Bakcell Company, the country's first mobile operator and the fastest mobile internet provider. AzerTelecom was founded in 2008 and provides various services to local and foreign companies in the telecommunication sector. AzerTelecom is currently implementing the "Azerbaijan Digital Hub" program to turn the country into a Regional Digital Center, in addition to the status of the Energy and Transport Center owned by Azerbaijan. The purpose of the Digital Hub program is to turn the country into a Digital center for the Caucasus, CIS, Central and South Asia, the Middle East and surrounding regions.