Es­to­nia to in­vest heav­ily in in­for­ma­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy in 2017

The Baltic Times - - OUR COMMENTARY - BNS/TBT Staff

The Es­to­nian govern­ment has ap­proved the im­ple­men­ta­tion plan of the Es­to­nian In­for­ma­tion So­ci­ety De­vel­op­ment Plan 2020, ac­cord­ing to which 50.4 mil­lion Euros will be al­lo­cated to the de­vel­op­ment of the field of in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy in 2017.

The main fo­cus of the im­ple­men­ta­tion plan is on na­tional e-ser­vices and the de­vel­op­ment of a ba­sic fast in­ter­net net­work across Es­to­nia as well as con­tribut­ing to in­ter­na­tional data ex­change through the X-road and the work of the Es­to­nian data em­bassy in Lux­em­bourg, the Min­istry of Eco­nomic Af­fairs and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion said.

Min­is­ter of En­trepreneur­ship and In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy Urve Palo said that the pri­or­ity of the im­ple­men­ta­tion plan is to cut down on red tape and move to­wards au­to­matic e-ser­vices and faster data ex­change for the con­sumer. "We are in­vest­ing into the ex­pan­sion of the use of the X-road to in­crease the au­to­matic data ex­change be­tween the public and pri­vate sec­tor. For this, we need to merge more and more busi­nesses with the X-road as we have done with banks and tele­com busi­nesses to­day," she said.

The min­is­ter said that eas­ier data ex­change will give both the state as well as the busi­ness op­er­a­tors an op­por­tu­nity to de­velop ser­vices that work fully au­to­mat­i­cally. "A good ex­am­ple of the nearly au­to­matic e-ser­vice func­tion­ing as a re­sult of the co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the pri­vate and public sec­tor is the fil­ing of tax re­turns. The tax re­turn has been filled in by the Tax and Cus­toms Board in ad­vance, while at the same time ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion can be added to it from the bank. Co­op­er­a­tion is also be­ing car­ried out so that more and more pri­vate sec­tor and na­tional ser­vices can be ac­cessed us­ing the ID card and mo­bile ID."

In de­vel­op­ing the in­for­ma­tion so­ci­ety in the next few years, the main fo­cus will be on fi­nal­iz­ing the con­struc­tion of the new gen­er­a­tion ba­sic in­ter­net net­work. "The ba­sic net­work will pre­dom­i­nantly be com­pleted al­ready next year, af­ter which the plan is to build the so-called "last mile", which is to add busi­nesses, in­sti­tu­tions and house­holds which re­main to be con­nected to the con­nec­tion points," Palo said. Al­to­gether ap­prox­i­mately 12.5 mil­lion Euros will be in­vested in the ba­sic net­work in 2017 and the plan is to build a to­tal of 1,113 kilo­me­tres of new net­work in Es­to­nia.

In or­der to make the ser­vices of the public sec­tor and pa­per­less ad­min­is­tra­tion more com­fort­able and cost-ef­fec­tive, over 18 mil­lion Euros will be in­vested in the har­mo­niza­tion of data ex­change, de­vel­op­ment of the eesti. ee plat­form and the de­vel­op­ment of ser­vices con­cern­ing the field of tax and cus­toms and the mod­ern­iza­tion of ser­vices nec­es­sary for pro­duc­ing registry-based statis­tics and ser­vices aimed at e-res­i­dents. By fall of this year, the test­ing pe­riod of the state cloud con­cept will end and the web en­vi­ron­ment will be fully us­able.

In ad­di­tion, of the projects cur­rently un­der de­vel­op­ment, the im­ple­men­ta­tion plan also fo­cuses on the backup of data at the data em­bassy in Lux­em­bourg. Es­to­nia is the first coun­try in the world which start­ing from next year will keep a backup of crit­i­cal data in a for­eign coun­try, pro­tected by diplo­matic rights. The es­ti­mated in­vest­ment cost for the given project in 2017 is 2.5 mil­lion Euros. In ad­di­tion, an Es­to­nian and Fin­nish NGO was founded last week in or­der to de­velop in­ter­state data ex­change via the X-road, which in the fu­ture will al­low state in­sti­tu­tions to share elec­tronic data across the bay.

The es­ti­mated sum to­tal of the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the whole in­for­ma­tion so­ci­ety de­vel­op­ment plan from 2017 to 2021 is 218.8 mil­lion Euros, most of which will be funded from EU struc­tural funds.

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