Daily Star


Bangladesh government will issue 3,000 – that’s right, three thousand – international gateway (IGW) licenses, said bdnews24.com and the Daily Star. The telecoms secretary would not disclose the “official” fees per IGW license at this stage. But he believes up to US$3,600 of CAPEX will be required for each gateway. Evidently the authorities perceive IGW some sort of a cottage industry.
Websites are not signboards. Information in the web must be updated immediately. But Daily Star said the Bangladesh government’s various websites are nothing but digital signboards. They are full of outdated and irrelevant contents. Citizens need information to interact with the state.
In April 2009, we reported that even though leased line prices in Bangladesh had declined by 74% in 6 months, the retail price paid by consumers had not changed. This was based on the broadband benchmarking data LIRNEasia publishes every 6 months. We are thankful that the Bangladesh regulator (BTRC) has taken note of our post and the complaints of many broadband consumers in Bangladesh. A recent article in the Daily Star reports that the BTRC has decided to check if the retail prices are dropping in line with whole-sale (leased line) costs. But what about broadband quality?
When I ceased to proffer policy advice to the government of Bangladesh some time back, I predicted that the International Long Distance Telecommunication Services Policy would fail, and that bypass would not be eradicated.  Seeing a report that massive bypass was reemerging after a quiet period following arrests and confiscations, I wrote an oped in the Daily Star urging a reworking of the policy.  Here is an excerpt: In 2007 when the government-appointed committee formulating the international Long Distance Telecommunication Services (ILTDS) Policy sought my advice, I told them that the larger policy objectives would be best served by liberalising international gateways. Liberalisation would enhance the competitiveness of Bangladesh’s export industries and create conditions for the efflorescence of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, thereby generating white-collar jobs for educated youth. It would eradicate the cancer of black money generated from the bypass business that was corroding the country’s body politic.
The op-ed piece written up on the basis of one of the LIRNEasia benchmark studies, has been published in the leading Bangladesh newspaper, Daily Star. The data and recommendations thus have been published, in various forms, in the special issue of Himal Southasian, in The Dawn, as a Choices column on LBO, and also flashed by AFP. As a result of the latter, it has got play in a number of publications, including in a Vietnam publication, the Mirror online (Sri Lanka), etc. Telecompk.net has also started a discussion.
:The Daily Star: Internet Edition Sarvodaya, Sri Lanka’s largest community-based organisation, and LIRNEasia, a regional ICT policy think-tank, collaborated on a 32-village pilot project that sought to identify the best technologies for reaching villages; to identify the significance of organisational strength and training for risk reduction; and to assess the participation of women in these activities.The community-based approach implemented in the project is different from a public-warning approach, but has lessons for government communications with first responders and for community organisation and training as well. For example, the project field tested addressable and remotely activated satellite radios that have coverage over the entire Bay of Bengal region. Other equipment deployed included Java and Symbion enabled mobile handsets capable of generating loud alarms and multi-language alert messages. The Bangladesh Network Office for Urban Safety (BNUS) of the Department of Civil Engineering, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) is co-organising a workshop with LIRNEasia entitled “Sharing Knowledge on Disaster Warning: Community-based Last Mile Warning Systems” to discuss the findings of the Last Mile Hazard Warning System (Hazinfo) Pilot Project as well as share the lessons of community-based last mile warning systems in Bangladesh.