Remain connected and reap maximum benefits


  • Letters
  • Sunday, 21 Mar 2004

DHAKA: After years of chest-beating sighs and moans over our country’s failure to seize the opportunity of logging on to the submarine cable and being consequently left by the wayside of the fast track IT, at long last we are almost there. 

Bangladesh is finally poised – thanks to a government decision to sign an agreement on March 27 with 12 countries – to open a whole expressway to the connective tissues of the massive world of knowledge, information, communication and business. 

Do we need to state the obvious about the multiple benefits of opening such a gateway being so enormous? Perhaps we do, given the way we have denied the services to ourselves for an inordinately long time. 

Internet usage and long-distance telephone calls will cost much less than being charged now; Internet access and data transfer will be infinitely more speedy; and there is even the scope for IT-enabled value-added services, for example call centre, telemedicine, and distance education at overseas universities in the horizon. 

Better late than never. It’s laudable on the part of the government that it is going to provide our IT infrastructure with a vital tool, a hugely missed link so far. Now, as for garnering funds, it’s important that we value transparency and competitiveness in obtaining the best of terms. 

Access is not enough by itself; an opportunity is as good as its utilisation, and the fuller the utilisation, the greater evidently will be the value extracted from it. 

We have two specific suggestions to offer by way of ensuring maximisation of benefit from submarine cable networking: first, a level playing field will have to be provided for the operators through a rationalised, consistent regulatory mechanism; and second, it will be of strategic importance for us to try and draw upon the experiences of successful international operators of the consortium we are going to be a part of. 

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