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Working Paper_60004.pdf - Bangladesh Online Research Network

Working Paper_60004.pdf - Bangladesh Online Research Network

W orking

W orking Paper Series 04From the base year in 1990 till the year 2002, therehas nearly been a 600 percent growth in the sector asa whole which is contributed by the growth ofmobile telephones. The government has also takensome initiatives to increase the coverage of fixedline phones by issuing license to private companiesfor rolling out network outside Dhaka city. BTTBhas introduced wireless local loop (WLL) systemwhich is not functioning well and those who receivethe services are suffering in many places of thecountry. With the current pace of growth of thetelecom penetration, it is difficult to determine afigure of teledensity by 2015. However, consideringthe current growth trend in the mobile sector, plan ofrolling of network by the private fixed line operatorand forecast on market saturation, it is expected thatthe teledensity will reach 10 percent. The questionis, whether the improvement in teledensity willbenefit the poor in the remote areas or just only thebetter off class in those places. There is some earlyevidence that the penetration of mobile phones androad access benefited the middlemen of theagricultural products and not the farmers. Thus, ifthe government wants that the benefit of the ICTsreach the poor, there should be special efforts at thegrass root level, and at the same time a change in theachievement indicators to have a clearunderstanding of the benefits received by the poorand the vulnerable group is also necessary.There could be an alternative way to calculate thetelephone penetration. In a country like Bangladesh,where village pay phones and public telephonebooths are popular and most of the people utilise it,the penetration should be defined by the number ofpeople accessing it and not by the subscriber. If wemade an alternative calculation that at present morethan 50% of the rural areas are under mobilecoverage, then it is expected that by the year 2010every village will have at least one mobile phone or afixed line phone which will be accessible to all. Sothe indicators should be - there will be phone accessfor the entire community and every citizen canenjoy this benefit within 10 minutes of walk andthe target for achieving this goal should bereached by the year 2015. If we can redefine thesetargets and indicators, then it will be possible toproject our achievements in a better way [Please alsosee the section “The RightApproach”].III. (ii) Progress in Achieving Computer-Density: Indicator 47Millennium Development Goals in Bangladesh and Information and Communication Technology3

W orking Paper Series 04The fast diffusion of personal computers in theBangladeshi market started in the mid 1990s andprogressed, albeit, at a slower rate than in othercountries in the region. From a historicalperspective, the first main frame computer wasintroduced in the country in 1968 and the first PCwas purchased in 1981. High cost and limited accessto technology kept the diffusion of PCs slow in thecountry. With the current rate of penetration shownin figure 2, by 2015 we can hardly reach to 0.5%. Tokeep up the current growth in the computerpenetration, the government should continue thefiscal support provided to the hardware and softwareindustries and not to the threat withdrawing currentfacilities in every budget planning of the country.III. (iii) Progress in Achieving Internet User per 100 Population: Indicator 48Given the current trend of the Internet penetration,the Internet use will reach up to 0.5% by 2015.Because of the delay due to corruption in the submarinecable project, the high-speed Internetconnection is also delayed which ultimatelyhampers the growth of all the industries, includingthe value-added ICT industry.IV. THE RIGHTAPPROACHThe right approach for mainstreaming the ICT, inmeeting the MDG targets for poverty alleviationwould be incorporation of an instrument in allrelevant targets of the 8 goals. ICTs are extremelyuseful for providing quality education to poorpeople, for improving health services includingreduction of child mortality as well as neonataldeath. An education system without ICT educationwill be outdated by 2015. Health schemes withoutthe use of telemedicines for the poor will be unableto reach the target.Access to Technology, particularly ICTs, forDevelopment could be a separate Goal under theMDG. The target could be more specific like in Goal1. The indicators, currently under implementationcould be modified as follows:Indicator 1: TeleAccess (fixed line or mobile)Part 1: Availability of a public phone within 10minutes of walk by all the citizens of a community.Part 2: Users of telephone per 100 population (usingpersonal phone or PCO).Millennium Development Goals in Bangladesh and Information and Communication Technology4

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