Rural-urban internet price gap should be removed: Jabbar

Bangabandhu Satellite to be launched in late March

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:05, Jan 13,2018 | Updated: 22:01, Jan 12,2018

 
 

Posts, telecommunications and information technology minister Mustafa Jabbar speaks at a press briefing held at the Bangladesh Computer Council auditorium in Dhaka on Friday. — New Age photo

Internet price disparity between the rural and urban areas should be eliminated, said posts, telecommunications and information technology minister Mustafa Jabbar on Friday.
He made the remark while speaking at a press briefing on ‘another four years of advancement’ to highlight the developments in the ICT sector achieved in last four years at the Bangladesh Computer Council auditorium in Dhaka.
‘All the people of the country will get internet at the same price — it should be,’ said Jabbar.
‘People using internet in Chittagong and Dhaka will get internet at cheaper prices than the people of rural areas pay — it’s unjustified,’ he said.
The government has trained people on different ICT-related subjects, so that they can work from anywhere in the country but they are coming to the urban areas just to avail affordable quality internet, said the telecom minister.
The newly appointed minister at the meeting also spoke on issues like safe internet, facilities at hi-tech parks, failure of postal division, Teletalk and Telephone Shilpa Sangstha Limited, and complicacy related to issuing ‘dot bd’ and ‘dot bangla’ domain addresses.
State minister for information and communication technology Junayed Ahmed Palak and ICT division secretary Subir Kishore Choudhury also spoke at the briefing.
Mentioning various abuses of internet, Jabbar said that school going boys and girls, respected persons and even the state were unsafe on the internet and that was why his division would take all measures to make internet safe by controlling abusers.
He also informed that the Bangabandhu Satellite-1 would be placed on its orbital slot within March this year as the satellite was ready for launching.
Although a specific date is yet to be finalised, it would be launched any day in March 26- 31, he said.
Highlighting the facilities that the government is providing for the high-tech parks, the posts, telecommunications and information technology minister said that the government would give tax exemption for the entities which would produce products at the hi-tech parks.
Besides, there are cash incentives for the export of ICT-related products from Bangladesh and tax exemption for import of 94 IT-related hardwires aimed at making final production in Bangladesh, he said.
‘I think it would be hard for the entrepreneurs to demand for more facilities for the sector as the government has fulfilled almost all of their demands for flourishing of the sector,’ Jabbar said.
Speaking about the complicacy of getting domain of ‘dot bd’ and ‘dot bangla’, the ICT minister said that he had already asked Bangladesh Telecommunication Company Limited to make domain allocation process easier so that everyone could avail its address instantly without any hassle.
‘There is a provision of charging Tk 10,000-15,000 for some words which BTCL has claimed as special,’ Jabbar said.
The minister stated that he had already instructed for making charges equal for any sort of domain address of ‘dot bd’ and ‘dot bangla’.
Speaking about the failure of Teletalk to become a leading mobile company of the country, Jabbar said that peoples’ interest to get SIM cards of Teletalk was overwhelming initially but the entity had failed to become a leading telecom service provider.
Teletalk will have to cut call rate to become a leading mobile phone operator and to make it happen the telecom ministry and the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission will provide all policy supports, he said.
Junayed Ahmed Palak said, ‘I consider internet as the sixth basic need in the era of digitisation and hope that the completion of the ongoing government projects would help the ICT sector to contribute significantly to the country’s economy.’ 

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