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B’desh notches 13 steps down [ Business ] 18/03/2017
B’desh notches 13 steps down
HM Murtuza

Bangladesh has notched 13 steps down in the internet affordability drivers index among 58 developing and least developed countries due to the country’s slow progress in the area compared with that of other countries, according to the 2017 report of Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI).

The A4AI is a broad global coalition working to enable everyone and everywhere to access internet.

According to the A4AI’s 2015 report, Bangladesh ranked 33 with a score of 39.13 among 53 countries. In the latest report, the ranking fell down to 46.
Bangladesh scored 39.41 out of 100 in the latest ADI.

The report showed that in communication infrastructure development Bangladesh’s ranking was 16 in 2015 that declined to 41 in 2017.

In access to internet, Bangladesh was downgraded by seven steps to 41.
The A4AI in its report said that Bangladesh’s social obligation fund, for example, was designed to fund the extension of telecommunications facilities in underprivileged areas, but there was no recent history of direct public infrastructure investment in broadband.

Among the South Asian countries, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and even Myanmar have done far better than Bangladesh in the internet affordability drivers index in 2017.

In the Alliance for Affordable Internet report, Sri Lanka ranked 24, Pakistan 28, India 35, Nepal 41 and Myanmar 42 among the 58 countries.

Colombia, a Latin American country, retained the number one position with a score of 72.87.

Malaysia was the lone country from Asia, which positioned it among the top 10 countries, securing the third place in the ADI with a score of 63.28.

On the other hand, considering the cost of internet North American and European people get internet in more affordable prices as they have to pay 0.84 per cent and 0.90 per cent of their gross national income per capita to consume 1 gigabyte internet.

While, people of Asia and the pacific region have to spend 4.25 per cent of their GNI per capita to consume the same volume of internet, it said.

Mentioning inclusion of digital equality in the sustainable development goals as an important achievement, A4AI, however, said, ‘The bad news is that without urgent policy action, we will miss this target by over 20 years.’

‘High connectivity costs remain one of the biggest obstacles to achieving the universal access pledge,’ it said.

‘Though broadband prices are coming down, they simply aren’t falling fast enough, leaving low income earners and other marginalised populations unable to afford even a basic connection,’ it said.

The global association of major players in the internet arena in its report suggested employing public access solutions to close the digital divide, fostering market competition through smart policy, implementing innovative uses of spectrum through transparent policy, taking urgent action to promote infrastructure and resource sharing, making effective use of universal service and access funds, ensuring effective broadband planning turns into effective implementation for improving the situation.
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