July 22, 2009

Government to Fast Track Local ICT Production

The government has taken a Tk 4.17 billion (417 crore) project to set up digital exchanges for expanding ultramodern telecommunications facilities in rural areas, including internet broadband up to the upazila level. Under the project taken by Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL), digital telephone exchanges will be set up in 220 places, including 178 upazilas and 42 growth centers.

A parliamentary committee has recommended the government fast track public-private partnership schemes for local manufacture of laptops and mobile phone sets.

The meeting was informed that a project, 'Internet Information Network Expansion', involving Tk 2.99 billion has been taken as part of the programme to build 'Digital Bangladesh'. Once implemented,
it would be possible to bring the country's people under modern digital network.

"We have suggested the government taking up projects under public private partnership to manufacture ICT equipment locally so that people get those equipment at low prices," Hasanul Haq Inu, chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on post and telecommunications ministry, told reporters Tuesday.

"It will help reduce the government's credit burden and ICT equipment like laptops and handsets will be cost effective if they are locally produced," he said.

Finance minister AMA Muhith, introduced an allocation for PPP initiatives for the first time in the 2009-10 national budget to expedite development projects.

Inu said the telecommunications ministry, as per the suggestions of the committee, had recently decided to slash cost of internet bandwidth for operators by 33 percent to stimulate the telecoms sector throughout the country.

"Internet service providers will pay Tk 18,000 per megabit/second to the state-run Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited, instead of the current rate of Tk 27,000, from August 1", the chairman said.

"We will monitor to what extent the service providers reduce the internet cost at the users' end," he said, suggesting the government could reduce the bandwidth fees even further for faster internet service at the minimum cost to users.

BTCL managing director SM Khabiruzzaman, who attended the standing committee meeting, said that they were cutting the bandwidth charge for six months from August.

"It will be revised again later," he told the meeting.


Post a Comment