Bangladesh: Rural ICT Connectivity Project

Sovereign Project | 44205-012

Summary

The Government of Bangladesh has developed the policy document with a single vision, 10 board objectives, 56 strategic themes and 306 action items to promote wide ICT use for national development. Three out of the ten objectives are related to infrastructure building to assist the rural population: (i) Ensure social equity, gender parity, equal opportunity and equitable participation in nation-building through access of ICTs for all, including persons with disability and special needs; (ii) Universal Access: Ensure connectivity to all as a public service obligation; and (iii) Support to ICT: Develop appropriate infrastructure including power, and regulatory framework for effective adoption and use of ICTs throughout the country.

Latest Project Documents

Title Document Date
Rural ICT Connectivity Project Nov 2012

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Project Name Rural ICT Connectivity Project
Project Number 44205-012
Country Bangladesh
Project Status Closed
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
TA 7553-BAN: Rural ICT Connectivity Project
Technical Assistance Special Fund US$ 225,000.00
Strategic Agendas Inclusive economic growth
Drivers of Change
Sector / Subsector Information and communication technology - ICT industries and ICT-enabled services
Gender Equity and Mainstreaming No gender elements
Description

The Government of Bangladesh has developed the policy document with a single vision, 10 board objectives, 56 strategic themes and 306 action items to promote wide ICT use for national development. Three out of the ten objectives are related to infrastructure building to assist the rural population: (i) Ensure social equity, gender parity, equal opportunity and equitable participation in nation-building through access of ICTs for all, including persons with disability and special needs; (ii) Universal Access: Ensure connectivity to all as a public service obligation; and (iii) Support to ICT: Develop appropriate infrastructure including power, and regulatory framework for effective adoption and use of ICTs throughout the country.

Backbone fiber optic networks in Bangladesh are extensive and are already built by many mobile operators (mostly foreign owned), Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) operators, and the incumbent operator BTCL in Bangladesh. The fiber optic networks to major cities and districts are already in place.

There are altogether 64 districts (zila) in Bangladesh, which are divided into sub-districts (Upazila, or UPZ), and each upazila further divided into unions (UP), and each UP into multiple villages. There are approximately 483 UPZs and 4500 UPs. Out of these, 59 districts and 284 UPZ already connected with fiber optic networks. Each UPZ covers an approximate average area of radius 10km and each UPZ on the average consists of 9 UPs.

There is a more immediate requirement to connect 1,000 designated UPs and the setting up of Community E-Centers (CeCs) in these UPs to provide reliable and efficient high-speed connectivity in these areas, including schools, particularly elementary schools. For communications to rural areas CeCs in UPZ and schools, the "last mile" connectivity is currently not readily available and this is the gap which needs to be filled.

Telecommunications connectivity to the CeCs in rural areas includes two portions: the backbone fiber optic links and the "last mile" connectivity to the targeted UPZ and schools locations. While the backbone fiber optic is abundant, the "last mile" high speed and reliable connectivity is lacking. The technological options to deploy network connectivity in the "last mile" between the nearest telecom network nodes and the CeCs include: (i) Wireless: WiFi, WiMAX, Microwave; (ii) Satellite: VSAT; (iii) Mobile Networks: CDMA, LMDS, EDGE and 3G wireless, GPRS; and (iv) Fiber Optic Network.

Connecting the rural villages to the fiber optic backbone in turn connecting them to the region via the on-going SASEC Information Highway Project. ICT is vital to improve rural area productivity, solution sharing between local people and communities, providing access to practical information on small business accounting, weather trends and farming based practices. Timely access to market information via communications networks also helps farmers make astute decisions about what crops to plant and where to sell their products and buy inputs. Other areas such as educations, health, governance and employment can improve lives in the rural areas through the ICT communications in these areas.

It is also important to note that building a flourishing and sustainable CeC business model, which will help perpetuate the CEC business and to entice private sectors' interest in CeC operations and business, and in turn create more investments in the connectivity and proliferate the building of more CeCs.

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy Recognizing the importance of improving efficiently the connectivity of rural areas in order for the rural population to benefit from the regional network, a S-PPTA is deemed necessary to provide immediate assistance to the Government. An investment project may be planned to follow-up on the actual infrastructure development after the S-PPTA. Fund for the investment is to be requested from the ADB Regional Corporation and Integration (RCI) fund starting from 2011. During the investment project preparation stage, all necessary safeguards and social related assessment will be carried out in details.
Impact The overall impact is to make ICT more accessible, affordable, inclusive, sustainable, and useful to remote and rural communities and entrepreneurs.
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome The main outcomes of the S-PPTA will be (i) a viable and feasible ICT rural connectivity plan that will provide efficient, reliable, and high speed coverage to UPZs and/or UPs levels, including identifying and designing community e-centers (CeCs) to serve communities and schools within these areas; and (ii) assess potential areas of private sector participation in the possible financing, construction, ownership, operation, maintenance and rehabilitation of the connectivity and CeCs.
Progress Toward Outcome
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

1. Feasibility studies to provide efficient, reliable, and high speed coverage to UPZs and/or UPs levels, including identifying and designing community e-centers (CeCs) to serve communities and schools within these areas.

2. Assessment of potential areas of private sector participation in the possible financing, construction, ownership, operation, maintenance and rehabilitation of the connectivity and CeCs.

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)
Geographical Location Bangladesh
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design
During Project Implementation
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services

The Consulting Services will be carried out by an international ICT expert (5 person-months) who will be recruited in accrodance with ADB's Guidelines on the Use of Consultants (2007, as amended from time to time).

The Consultant will finalize the scope in consultation with the Government of Bangladesh during the kick-off meeting, and identify/engage the required network designers and site surveyors.

Responsible ADB Officer Dong-Kyu Lee
Responsible ADB Department South Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Transport and Communications Division, SARD
Executing Agencies
Prime Minister's OfficeMr. Anir Chowdhury, Policy Adviseranirchowdhury@pmo.gov.bdOld Sangsad Bhaban, Tejgaon, Dhaka 1215
Asian Development BankSusan Limslim@adb.org6 ADB Ave., Mandaluyong City
Timetable
Concept Clearance 10 Mar 2010
Fact Finding 11 Mar 2010 to 25 Mar 2010
MRM -
Approval 23 Jun 2010
Last Review Mission -
PDS Creation Date 28 Jun 2010
Last PDS Update 29 Jun 2010

TA 7553-BAN

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
23 Jun 2010 - 23 Jun 2010 15 Dec 2010 14 Dec 2011 -
Financing Plan/TA Utilization Cumulative Disbursements
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total Date Amount
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
225,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 225,000.00 23 Jun 2010 138,700.72
Title Document Type Document Date
Rural ICT Connectivity Project TA Completion Reports Nov 2012

Safeguard Documents

See also: Safeguards

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Evaluation Documents

See also: Independent Evaluation

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