Phase III of Bangladesh’s network infrastructure project, built by Chinese companies, was completed on Tuesday. A celebration ceremony was held in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka. The project aims to develop the country’s information and communication technology (ICT) sector.
The project, which started in 2017 and is jointly funded by the Chinese and Bangladeshi governments, will provide high-speed broadband internet connectivity, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Wednesday.
Consisting of three phases, the project aims at extending the government ICT network to the lowest tier of administration and ordinary citizens, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) under the United Nations.
Named Development of National ICT Infra-Network for Bangladesh Government Phase-III, the project will cover 62 percent of the country’s area and population, and extend the “information superhighway” from the capital to most parts of the country, benefiting about 100 million people.
According to Xinhua, the Phase-3 Project is an important part to assist the country to fulfill the Digital Bangladesh Vision. It is also one of the high-quality cooperation projects between China and Bangladesh under the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), focusing on realizing “Digital Bangladesh.”
The project uses concessional loans from the Export-Import Bank of China. The main contractor is China Railway International Group Co (CRIG), and the main subcontractor is Huawei Technologies Co. Phase-3 has a contract value of $169.6 million, according to Xinhua.
“We are really thankful to Huawei and CRIG for their continuous support for building digital Bangladesh,” said Zunaid Ahmed Palak, the state minister for the ICT Division of Bangladesh, at the ceremony on Tuesday.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen also said that Phase-3 “has an important role in building digital Bangladesh.”
Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming said on Tuesday at the ceremony that the successful cooperation between China and Bangladesh in ICT-related fields is conducive to the further integration of China’s “Digital Silk Road” and “Digital Bangladesh” for the benefit of the people of the two countries.
“As a good friend and strategic partner of Bangladesh, China will work with Bangladesh to explore more cooperation opportunities in high-end industries and promote high-quality BRI cooperation between the two countries,” said Li.
According to ITU, the project is expected to increase the fixed broadband connectivity from 5 percent of households to more than 15 percent and is expected to contribute a 1 percent increase in Bangladeshi GDP.
Bangladesh’s communications industry has grown rapidly since the “Digital Bangladesh” strategy was launched in 2008, said Mustafa Jabbar, Bangladesh’s minister of posts and telecommunications, at the Huawei APAC Digital Innovation Congress in May 2022.
“Mobile broadband coverage has gone from zero to 98.5 percent today, and the number of users has expanded from 40 million in 2018 to today’s 180 million,” said Jabbar.
Source : GlobalTimes