According to Dimitri Kumsishvili’s evaluation, building internet infrastructure is principally important for the country’s development.
“We have created a model according to which it will be possible to build an entire internet network across Georgia,” explained the Minister of Economy, Dimitri Kumsishvili, in response to questions from journalists. “We will provide settlements with the necessary infrastructure effectively and with the least amount of investment.”
“Every settlement in Georgia with more than 200 people could have access to the Internet,” Kumsishvili continued. “We invite the private sector to participate in the project of creating the relevant infrastructure. This infrastructure is of paramount importance for our country as it enables us to further improve internet accessibility in Georgia. There are European guidelines that expressly set out what speed and quality of Internet to provide subscribers. But at this stage, unfortunately, the private sector has not expressed a desire to invest in covering the whole of Georgia.”
According to the Minister, the government already discussed several options, including a mixed model. “We have created an ideal network through consultation with the German company Detecon, which was selected through a tender. This is a model by which it will be possible to construct the entire network most effectively, and with minimal investment, in order to bring infrastructure to places such as towns, schools, police buildings, and town halls,” the Minister explained.
According to the Minister, it is particularly important that the state and donors together build only the necessary infrastructure, and not enter into the business of providing internet service. "That would be absolutely unacceptable,” he said. “It is important that we contribute only the infrastructure through which the private sector will deliver services to end-users. Users will pay directly to the private sector, to the internet providers. Precisely because it is an important infrastructure for the country, a model of public and private partnership was found: a non-entrepreneurial, non-profit legal entity that has a donor, the Cartu Foundation,” said Dimitri Kumsishvili.
As the Minister noted, the internetization of Georgia is not a simple process. The project will be accompanied by a second stage aimed at activities such as raising awareness about the Internet and creating a voucher system. "We need to raise the level of internet knowledge in Georgia, create training centers, and, in the future, provide low-cost devices that people can use to access the Internet. It is a very large and complex project," he explained.