Bangladesh Archives — Page 3 of 15


A systematic review of ICT integration in education in the developed world. Presented by Sujata Gamage at ICT4Education Research Dissemination Event “Strategies for optimizing benefits of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for education in Developing Asia” held on 2016 Nov 26, 2015, at the Committee Room E, BMICH, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
Myanmar is breathing on Malaysia’s neck in terms of unique mobile subscribers. Its unique mobile subscription is already ahead of Nepal, Sri Lanka and Cambodia – according to GSMA. Nielsen also advises its clients to bet on “rapid up-take of mobile technology” by Myanmar’s youngsters. Repeated outages of Internet, however, stain the country’s digital profile. Doug Madory of Dyn Research compares the situation to closing a highway at rush hour.
Have not had the time to do the usual analysis, so was happy to see this report in the Financial Times. The recently released 2015 edition of the Global Information Technology Report of the World Economic Forum has placed Sri Lanka at 65th position in networked readiness among 143 economies surveyed. Singapore is ranked as the topmost country in networked readiness and replaces Finland, which had been number one since 2013. Japan, which climbs an impressive six places on a year-on-year basis to 10th position, also joins the top 10. Sri Lanka is the highest-ranked South Asian nation this year and eighth among the Asian nations, beaten only by Singapore (1st), Japan (10th), Korea (12th), Hong Kong (14th), Taiwan (18th), Malaysia (32nd) and China (62nd).
India has excluded Assam and Manipur, two of its troublesome northeastern states, from the 17,500-km long Trans-Asian Railway (TAR) network. It has proposed a Bangladesh-Myanmar railway link via Tripura and Mizoram instead, according to Times of India. Indian policy makers now want to bypass the areas in Assam and Manipur. According to the new proposal, Dhaka should be connected to Jawahar Nagar in north Tripura, which is south of Mahisasan from where new lines will be laid to proceed towards Sairang in Mizoram from where it would be connected to an existing line at Ka Lay in Myanmar. “The UNESCAP plan is not final and there is room for modification.
The Government of Pakistan has ordered an expensive re-verification process of all mobile SIMs in the aftermath of the Peshawar Massacre. Aslam Hayat, a LIRNEasia alumnus now with Telenor Pakistan, has pointed out that the root cause is being ignored: However this does not mean that the system is foolproof, there is possibility that at the retail-end, some of the sellers may violate standard operating procedures (SOPs) for small gains without the support and knowledge of the mobile operators. The big question is why somebody would do this and why there is demand for SIMs on fake subscriptions. Without fear of contradiction, I can say with confidence that no franchisee or a retailer will ever knowingly sell a SIM to a terrorist or a person having intent to commit a heinous crime. The dominant buyer of bulk SIMs is the group of people involved in bringing grey international incoming calls.
The 2014 Measuring the Information Society report is out. No surprises at the top: Denmark is now at 1 and Korea is now 2; just changed places from 2012 ranking. Significant movement from the Gulf countries: UAE goes from 46 to 23 and Qatar from 42 to 34. UAE is almost too difficult to believe. No good news from South Asia, sadly.
I have always been intrigued by the differences between South and South East Asian countries. We saw this over and over again when we did the Teleuse@BOP surveys. But playing around with some numbers for Facebook users in four South and four SE Asian countries, I was astounded. In all the SE Asian countries, there are more Facebook users than there are Internet users. In the case of Myanmar, the multiple is 4.
It started with the infamous “SIM tax” in 2005. Although mobile covers nearly 100% of population and geography, a highly ambiguous Social Obligation Fund (SOF) was created in 2010. Consequently the telecom regulator has been illegally amassing huge wealth since 2011. Now the tax authorities have decided to impose 1% surcharge on mobile usage to “promote rural education.” And for the first time, the taxmen will be collecting a sector-specific toll.
Bangladesh has abundant international Internet bandwidth while Bhutan generates surplus electricity. Newly appointed Bhutan’s Ambassador to Dhaka, Pema Choden, has expressed interest in importing surplus bandwidth from Bangladesh. In that meeting, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam also showed interest in Bhutan’s plentiful electricity to meet the growing energy demand of Bangladesh. Both the neighbors are now poised to be the friend in mutual needs. Bangladesh currently consumes only 40Gbps of its 200Gbps capacity of the SEA-ME-WE 4 submarine cable.
I was looking for overall indicators for the Bhutan ICT sector a few years back. The only index that included Bhutan then was the ICT Development Index, published by the ITU. So I am happy that WEF has included Bhutan in the NRI for the first time. And they have placed at 94, ahead of all their S Asian peers other than Sri Lanka and India. Pakistan and Bangladesh on the other hand have slid back by 6 and 5 places, respectively.
Following on from the previous post re Bangladesh making do with an obsolete national telecom policy from 1998, I’ve been asked why we need policies, when in my time in government in Sri Lanka first as a regulator and then handling policy, I had not done much about Sri Lanka’s own obsolete policy (a couple of sheets of paper from 1994). A national policy provides a framework for decision making. A national telecommunications policy lays down basic principles to guide decisions of all relevant government agencies (not limited to the Ministry in charge of the subject) and other stakeholders, including service providers, investors, and even consumer organizations, which makes stakeholder input vital for its formulation. Not just the end result, but the process is also important. One needs stakeholder input; one also needs stakeholders to own the policy.
We don’t go as far as Cisco which claims that countries can increase penetration simply by promulgating policies or plans, but there is real value in having updated policies in place so that all the players are reading off a common script. Bangladesh is struggling with getting itself a new policy: Abu Saeed Khan, a senior policy fellow of LIRNEasia which is a Colombo-based ICT policy and regulation think tank, said the current policy describes mobile phone services as ‘value added services’, which indicates how outdated the policy is. The policy was made by the then Awami League government, which is now in power again with the vision of establishing a ‘Digital Bangladesh’, he said. The policy has to reflect how the government would achieve its vision, he added. Khan said the revised telecom policy should provide a roadmap to take broadband penetration to respectable levels.
A presentation and discussion of LIRNEasia research from Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh