Kyiv, November 26, 2014. Civic activists and communication technology experts express exacerbation at the Ukrainian government’s inability to install 3G mobile communications technology. 3G is already more than a decade old, and many countries are already working on installing the next generation of communications technology, 4G. Ukraine’s failure to push forward with the installation of this technology is responsible for lost investment opportunity and indicative of broader inefficiencies in Ukrainian governance. This was stated at Ukraine Crisis Media Center by telecommunications expert Olena Minich, activist and businessman llya Kenigshtein, and Head of Board of the Internet Association of Ukraine Tetyana Popova.
“The government systemically blocks the implementation of modern technology,” stated Popova. While activists have been pushing for the installation of 3G technology for years, many hoped that the reformist moods that swept the country following Euromaidan would lead to the reforms necessary to upgrade mobile communications systems. Unfortunately, the Cabinet of Ministers and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in particular have stalled the initiative. “We are talking about an additional 10,000 jobs,” said Popova. The lack of action is preventing the growth of the economy and bringing Ukraine in the greater European and global community. “We will lose 7.5 billion hryvnias of investment” if this technology is not installed, stated Minich.
The inability of the Ukrainian government to implement the reforms is unfortunately indicative of the broader unwillingness to take reforms seriously, said Minich. “Implementing this reform would have been easy and would have been a signal to foreign investors.” Rather than improve Ukraine’s economic standing, authorities preferred to slide back into the old way of doing things. Meanwhile, the rest of the world is pushing forward with state-of-the-art communication technology. “Europe has had 3G technology, and is implementing 4G and ready even to launch 5G,” stated Minich.
The activists and experts blame corruption for stalled progress. “Corruption is directly related to the development of the IT sector,” said Minich. Corruption stalls the dissemination of licenses to install 3G. Ironically, the more citizens are connected to the internet and better technology, the less corruption any given society experiences. Technology not only connects citizens within a country, but also makes the political system more transparent. “The [problem] is not just that we don’t have 3G, it is the attitude [in Ukraine] and the bureaucracy,” said Kenigshtein. Other countries are switching from 3G to 4G in a matter of two months while in Ukraine it takes years to install 3G.