July 2, 2009

Speedy Internet, Key for a Developed Bangladesh: World Bank

Access to inexpensive internet and mobile phone services is mandatory for financial and social expansion, according to a report by World Bank. A World Bank statement released Wednesday said access to high speed internet is key to economic escalation and job foundation in rising countries.

The report says that for each 10 percent boost in high speed internet connections there is a raise in economic growth of 1.3 percent. It also identifies mobile phones as the sole most dominant way to accomplish and distribute public and private services to hundreds of millions of people in remote and rural areas across the developing world.

"Internet users in developing countries increased tenfold from 2000 to 2007, and there are now over four billion
mobile phone subscribers in developing countries," said Mohsen Khalil, the WB director for Global Information and Communication Technologies.

"These technologies offer tremendous opportunities. Governments can work with the private sector to accelerate rollout of broadband networks, and to extend access to low-income consumers," said Khalil.

Bangladesh government's vision of a 'Digital Bangladesh' appears to aim in the right direction, in light of the new report. The report, Information and Communications for Development 2009: Extending Reach and Increasing Impact said the World Bank in Bangladesh is providing technical backing on stock-taking in the ICT sector and for the Digital Bangladesh programme.

However, a survey released last month by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) said broadband fees in Bangladesh were the highest among 30 Asian countries last year. Since the survey was carried out in January 2008, BTCL has reduced Internet tariff charges by up to 40 percent, while Internet service providers reduced the average Internet access charge for home users by 25 percent, but this was not sufficient for Bangladesh to be competitive, according to JETRO.


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