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PM Sheikh Hasina

Cut internet costs: PM

WT24 Desk

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked internet service providers to keep the bandwidth price within the people’s reach and upgrade their services, agencies report.She called for broadening the use of information and communication technology at Thursday’s meeting of ‘Digital Bangladesh Taskforce’ at the PMO.
“We’ve built up a digital Bangladesh,” she said. “Now, we need to expand its (technology) usage.”

Internet subscribers in Bangladesh are unhappy over the prices and there have been demands to reduce them. She ordered Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Network (NTTN), Internet Service Provider (ISP) and mobile operators to finish projects to provide internet connections in villages in the shortest time. Building a ‘digital Bangladesh’ was one of the Awami League’s key electoral pledges in 2008.

Hasina urged the participants to ensure development in the IT sector to keep up with the ever-evolving technology. People should be encouraged to use IT, as her government aimed to provide services to the people through technology. “The digital Bangladesh initiative aims at providing equal opportunities to people in towns and villages alike,” she said. It was decided in the meeting that digital content for all textbooks up to intermediate level will be prepared and high-speed internet connections at all educational institutions ensured.

Digital devices will be reached to students by 2021 and the education ministry will draw a roadmap for digitalisation of the education system. The meeting also decided to make new laws on cyber security and amend the existing ones, set up modern forensic labs to facilitate investigation and prompt actions, and form the national cyber security council and national cyber security organisation.

Hasina’s Press Secretary Ehsanul Karim said the Digital Bangladesh Taskforce Committee will be reformed to make IT activities more dynamic and people-oriented. The prime minister said people in the rural areas were keen to embrace new technologies and observed that technology had made their life easy. She said the government had set up 5,275 digital centres and was planning to upgrade 8,000 post offices to digital centres.

Hasina said her government had taken steps to improve the lives of the people and one of them was withdrawing tax on computers in 1996, when the Awami League came to power after 1975. She criticised the BNP-led government for rejecting offers for free submarine connection and later for a meager $6,000. “They had argued there would be information leak if Bangladesh was connected to the cable.”

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