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Telecommunications

Although Kazakhstan has the best telephone system in Central Asia, the system rates poorly by world standards. Attempts to attract foreign investment have largely failed. The state-owned national telecommunications company, Kazakhtelecom, has received assistance from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in a nationwide program of expansion and modernization. The company relinquished its monopoly control of international and long-distance telephony in 2005, and several companies now compete in those markets. Particular growth has occurred in mobile phone access; on 1 July 2008 more than 11 million active subscribers are registered, compared with 29,000 in1994. The June 2006 launch of the KazSat communications satellite from the Baykonur space platform, with Russian technical assistance, was expected to reduce the dependence of all the Central Asian countries on European and U.S. telecommunications satellites.
 
Expansion of Internet use has been limited by the relatively low ownership of computersin Kazakhstan. Most users access the Internet at public or work facilities. Usage is concentrated in the northern urban centers. In 2007, an estimated 1,9 million people (12,3% of the population) were using the Internet.

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