Written by Zahedul Islam from NewAgeBD.com
Monday, 29 May 2006
The government has finalised a broadband policy, setting an ambitious target to connect every village with high-speed, broadband internet by the end of 2015.(New Age).
The policy, which was finalised in April by an expert committee formed by the government, stipulated that all government offices,
local government institutions, colleges, schools, public libraries, cultural centres, museums, post offices and archives will be connected to the broadband network by the end of 2015 as part of the long-term target set by the policy. The policy, placed to the posts and telecommunications ministry in April,
defines broadband as ‘always on’ data/internet connection which ensures a minimum bandwidth of 128 kbps.
‘The government will hold a national workshop on the policy to ventilate public opinion before sending it to the cabinet for approval,’ said an official of the ministry.
The policy has set immediate (by the end of 2007), mid-term (by the end 2010) and long-term (by the end of 2015) broadband penetration targets which stipulated that by the end of 2007, fifty per cent of the present dialup internet connections should be shifted to broadband connection, while all universities, medical and engineering colleges and research institutes in both private and public sector should be connected to broadband network.
The policy also said all ministries, divisions, attached departments, boards, corporations, semi-government and autono-mous organisations, commissions, statutory bodies and local government institutions up to district level, should be brought under broadband network.All colleges situated in the district headquarters should be connected to broadband while 25 per cent of high schools in the district HQs and 10 per cent of high schools in upazila HQs should be connected to the network by 2007 as part of immediate target.
By the end of 2010, all colleges situated in upazila headquarters, 50 per cent of high school in district HQs and 35 per cent of high schools in upazila HQs, should be connected to broadband internet, and 10 per cent of villages and all local government institutions up to upazila level should be brought under the network.
The policy said private sector involvement in broadband services and public-private partnership will be encouraged. Broadband deployment policies will be technology-neutral with respect to user/service providers’ choice among multiple broadband technology options.
‘All broadband access technologies will be given equal consideration, if technologically feasible,’ said the policy adding that users would have options as regards choice of service providers or operators.
The broadband technology options include various access technologies such as optical fibre technologies, digital subscriber lines, cable television network, satellite media and wireless broadband.
Investment in the local content development, broadband services and broadband-related equipment and use of open source software will be encouraged.
The policy also suggests fiscal incentives for broadband deployment which include provision of tax holidays, explicit and targeted subsidies, grants, pilot-project funding, low-interest loans or development funds for the manufacturers of equipment related to broadband services like DSL modems, wireless modems, cable modems, and local website hosting companies, local language content developers, and e-commerce providers.
The Bangladesh Telecommuni-cations Regulatory Commission will issue licence for providing broadband services to any entity meeting the regulatory terms and conditions set by the commission.
However, existing licensed internet service providers need not to be issued a new licence for broadband connections until expiry of the existing licence.
Regarding the tariff for broadband services, the policy said that liberalised tariff policies in the field of telecommunications would be extended to encourage broadband services at a minimum cost.