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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Reiman: IT Industry to Double by 2005

Communications Minister Leonid Reiman said Monday that by 2005, the nation's information technology industry, currently estimated at $3.2 billion a year, will double and the number of Internet users in the country will grow eightfold.

Speaking at a conference devoted to E-Russia, the government's ambitious, eight-year, 76 billion-ruble ($2.4 billion) strategy to boost the sector, Reiman said his ministry was advancing a number initiatives to meet these targets, including implementing special tax regimes for IT companies, new laws to protect intellectual property, increasing exports, improving IT education and weaning the government off paper.

Reiman said it took the government longer than expected to officially approve the plan, which is now in its sixth month, but that all targets would be met on time.

"The most important question now is making the mechanism of the program's implementation work," he said, adding that several tenders have already resulted in contracts for private firms participating in the project.

Reiman said the government was also on track to meet its own goal of reducing the amount of paper it uses. By 2005, he said, electronic documents generated by governmental bodies will outnumber paper ones for the first time.

Later this year, the Federal Communication and Information Regulatory Agency, or FAPSI, will complete the first stage of a new system to protect the intergovernmental exchange of e-documents, FAPSI general director Vladimir Matyukhin said Monday.

This new system includes a fiber-optic network within the government and presidential administration that can handle up to 622 megabytes a second, he said.

The number of regular Internet users grew 39 percent last year to 4.3 million. Reiman said the number is up another 4.7 percent so far this year and now totals 4.5 million people.

The number of personal computers in the country rose 17.2 percent last year, from 6.4 per 100 people to 7.5, he said.