Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is honoured by generious support of the following organizations.
With the support of USTDA, a feasibility study for the Optical Fiber backbone project has already been created out which showed that the project is technically and commercially feasible.USTDA also made supports for the technical assistant and for tender processing.
For the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Information and communication Training Institute (ICTI) in Kabul the government of Iran granted 4.035 Million USD .
For the emergency restoration of Telecom Network in 11 provinces of Afghanistan the Government of India granted 14 million USD. With the implementation of this project 11 provinces will be connected by installation of Digital Switches and CDMA WLL System with the total of 35,000 subscriber’s lines.
World Bank Afghanistan ICT Sector Development Project
The World Bank supports the MCIT and the ATRA in creating an enabling environment for ICT sector development and growth through its five-years, US$50 million dollars Afghanistan ICT Sector Development Project, which runs from14th May 2011 to 30th June 2016.
Key Components and Desired Outcomes
The key components and desired outcomes of the World Bank’s Afghanistan ICT Sector Development Project, as stated in the original Project Paper, are below and are consistent with the MCIT’s and the ATRA’s strategic priorities and goals.
- Key Components
- Expanding connectivity
- Mainstreaming mobile applications
- IT industry development
- Project management support
- Desired Key Outcomes
- Revision of GIRoA ICT Policy
- Increase in access to Internet and mobile telephone services
- Adoption of mobile applications by ten GIRoA agencies or programs
- Training of 1,500 Afghans through IT skills development programs
US$27 million of the World Bank’s project budget has gone towards expansion of the national optical fiber cable (OFC) system for installation of the central and northeast spurs. When complete, the central and northeast spurs will connect five more provincial capitals to the OFC (Bamyan, Daykundi, Chaghcharan, Taloqan, and Fayzabad) and extend communications services, including high-speed broadband Internet services, to thousands more Afghan citizens. Three contracts for
Figure 1: Central and Northeast OFC Spurs
Installation were awarded late in 2012 to ZTE Corporation of China, Gulf Home Base International Construction Company (GHICC) of Kabul, and Rustam Haidri Construction Company (RHCC) of Kabul. Work on the central and northeast spurs has commenced and will be completed within next two years.
As part of the Afghanistan ICT Sector Development Project, the World Bank has funded or is currently funding several local, regional, and international consultancies to assist the MCIT and the ATRA as follows:
- The Open Access Policy has been framed up as conducted by Mr. Marc Lipton of the US.
- The study on Telecommunication Development Fund (TDF) Utilization was carried out by Mr. Tony Loda of Italy.
- Training on Mobile Government was conducted by mCGI of the United Kingdom.
- Regulations for the Mobile Sector have been framed up by Interconnect Communications (ICC) from the United Kingdom; the ATRA and ICC have completed the studies on interconnection costs, tariffs, quality of service (QoS), and mobile number portability (MNP) in August, 2013.
- The ICT Policy has been framed up by Grail Consulting Services of India in August, 2013.
- The IT Industry Policy is being framed up by The Trident-Consultants of the US and is expected to be ready by December, 2013.
In addition to the OFC expansion and consultancy support, the World Bank is funding several other projects to further progress in the Afghan ICT sector and to support the MCIT and the ATRA to transform Afghanistan into an Information Society and a regional ICT partner. They include:
Mobile Government Applications Platform
The World Bank is funding the installation of a Mobile Government Applications Platform and the development and implementation of 30 m-government apps within two years. The contract was awarded to USTronics from America and is being implemented by its Afghan subsidiary, Paywast. The Mobile Government Applications Platform is currently being commissioned and is expected to be completed by December, 2014.
IT Skills Development Program
Pilot phase of IT Skills Development Program has been conducted by Kardan Higher Education Institute of Afghanistan, RANA Technologies Enterprises of Afghanistan, and InfoTech Group of Singapore. The first three Batches comprised of a total of 450 Afghans and received training from Dec, 2012 to May, 2013. Another three institutes will be selected to train 1050 IT professionals in 2014-2015.
Innovation Support Program
The contract to administer the MCIT’s Innovation Support Program, named DEWAE, which loosely translates to “innovation beacon, “was awarded to Afghanistan Information Management Services (AIMS) of Kabul and is overseen by the Technology and Innovation Directorate of the MCIT. The purpose of the program is to create a culture of innovation and promote the adoption of ICT in Afghanistan. The Innovation Support Program includes awards of up to $80,000 in four categories: m-technology, m-government, IT champions, and student awards. Total award Grant allocated to creation of innovations culture in Afghanistan is 5.00 million USD.
On 25thMay 2013, the MCIT announced the first round of challenges under it’s DEWAE Innovation Support Program and issued the first call for proposals for innovative ideas to address the challenges. Winners of the first round of awards are expected to be announced in November, 2013 with the award ceremony scheduled for Dec, 2013.
The World Bank is funding the establishment of an ICT Incubator. The incubator space is expected to be created by March, 2014 and the ICT Incubator Program will run from April, 2014 until June, 2016.
Infrastructure Sharing INITIATIVES
Although it is not funded through the Afghanistan ICT Sector Development Project, the World Bank introduced the concept of infrastructure sharing to Afghanistan at its Infrastructure Sharing Workshop, held on the second day of the ICT Collaboration Conference in December of 2011. The idea of infrastructure sharing is to integrate efforts and share resources among various ministries, government entities, and municipalities. Examples of infrastructure sharing include installing utility and fiber ducts concurrent with road construction and along railways as they are built, utilizing the optical power ground wire in the electric grid for communications, and installing base transceiver stations on power towers. Infrastructure sharing has the potential to accelerate fiber deployment around the country and is a source of revenue for infrastructure owners. A National Infrastructure Sharing Policy was approved by the Afghan Cabinet on 11 March 2013 and distributed by the Ministry of Economy as Economic Council Act #22 on 11 April 2013.
The Ministry of Economy hosted its first infrastructure sharing meeting on 1 May 2013, at which it was decided that board would be commissioned to look at current tasks and create the process and procedures to implement infrastructure sharing and a directorate will be established within the Ministry of Economy to maintain a national database of all projects and plans and which will look at projects for potential infrastructure sharing opportunities.
Afghan Telecom (AfTel) and DABS, (the state-owned electric company) have signed an infrastructure sharing agreement, which will allow AfTel to use surplus optical power ground wire fiber in DABS’ electric network and vastly extend the fiber backbone, providing both new connectivity and redundancy to complement the OFC.
World Bank has been providing fund support for ICT sector growth of Afghanistan since 2003; World Bank funded ICT sector related projects implemented by MCIT from 2003-2009 are as under:
- Government Communications Network (GCN) under Emergency Communications Development Project (ECDP) of 2003: Funded by the World Bank as ECDP in 2003, at about 23 Million USD; Project successfully Completed in 2009; Established Satellite based Connectivity with 27 Provinces and Microwave Media based connectivity with 07 Provinces. MCIT provided Voice, Internet, Fax and Video Conferencing Facilities to all the 34 Provincial Capitals of Afghanistan.
- Microwave Links to East and to Pakistan: Under the World Bank-ARTF fund of 2.0 Million US Dollars, Broadband Microwave connectivity was established with Eastern Provinces and also to carry Traffic to Pakistan.
- Satellite Earth Station: Under the World Bank-ARTF fund, Satellite Earth Station was in Mahtab-Qila Area of Kabul City at a cost of 3.6 Million USD. This has also been linked with the GCN Hub with a 4.5 Kms OFC Route.
- Billing System: Under the World Bank-ARTF fund support of 300,000 USD, New Billing System was commissioned in Mar, 2007.
International Telecommunication Union (ITU) experts helped MCIT create Telecom policy and laws, localize spectrum monitoring standards, and coordinate to provide Documents for some Projects and facilitated tens of training courses, workshops and Seminars for MCIT employees.
UNDP has supported the Telecommunication sector in different projects which are:
ICT Centers, National ICT Council, ICT Village, National Data Center, Telekiosk Project
Since 2002, USAID has sent in many experts on consultancy basis to the MoC to cooperate and coordinate working out several strategic documents (i.e. the feasibility study of the fiber optic project , corporitization of Afghan Telecom ).
Microsoft is one of the leading software company in the world who is developing operating systems and different kind of other softwares.
Microsoft provided assistance in windows Localization and IT training programes.
Cisco helped the Ministry of Communications in providing Training ICT specialists at Cisco Networking Academy Programme (CNAP) A total of 409 students are enrolled under the following three Cisco Networking Academies in Kabul. The main goal of CNAP has been to increase female access to IT training and employment opportunities.