chapter  4
29 Pages

Development and Production of Equipment

WithRobert W. Campbell

This chapter aims to understand the policies and structures that hampered Soviet telecoms in the regard. It examines the R&D and production bases underlying Minsviazi's ability to innovate and looks at some cases that illustrate the problems it experienced in getting the kinds and amounts of equipment needed for a better telecoms sector. In all the main equipment areas—switches, multiplexing and transmission systems, cable, broadcasting equipment—Minsviazi was dependent on outside sources for production of standard equipment and for development of new equipment. In Soviet conditions of permanent overcommitment of resources and a sellers' market, the unequivocal priority given to meeting military demands meant that Minsviazi's needs, whether for development or production, were often sacrificed. Yugoslavia has played an especially important role in Minsviazi equipment supply, especially as a channel for some more modern switches—small digital switches and quasi-electronic private automatic branch exchanges—produced on the basis of licenses from Western companies.