40054-013: South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Information Highway Project (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) - Loan for Bangladesh | Asian Development Bank

Regional: South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Information Highway Project (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) - Loan for Bangladesh

Sovereign (Public) Project | 40054-013 Status: Active

ADB is supporting the development of information and communication technology in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal. The project will enhance the availability of affordable broadband Internet connections, skilled manpower, and local content and Internet applications by establishing the SASEC Regional Network, SASEC Village Network, and SASEC Research and Training Network.

Project Details

Project Officer
Kabir, Md. Humayun South Asia Department Request for information
Country
  • Regional
Sector
  • Information and communication technology
 
Project Name South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Information Highway Project (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) - Loan for Bangladesh
Project Number 40054-013
Country Regional
Bangladesh
Bhutan
Nepal
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Grant
Loan
Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
Grant 0098-REG: South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Information Highway Project (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) - Grant for Bhutan
concessional ordinary capital resources lending / Asian Development Fund US$ 4.70 million
Grant 0099-REG: South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Information Highway Project (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) -Grant for Nepal
concessional ordinary capital resources lending / Asian Development Fund US$ 5.00 million
Loan 2397-REG: South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Information Highway Project (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) - Loan for Bangladesh
concessional ordinary capital resources lending / Asian Development Fund US$ 2.87 million
TA 6433-REG: South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Regional Information and Communication Technology Research and Training Network (piggy-backed)
Regional Cooperation and Integration Fund US$ 4.40 million
Strategic Agendas Regional integration
Drivers of Change Governance and capacity development
Knowledge solutions
Private sector development
Sector / Subsector

Information and communication technology / ICT infrastructure

Gender Equity and Mainstreaming No gender elements
Description The Project is aimed at enhancing the benefits of ICT and regional cooperation for inclusive growth and poverty reduction by increasing the supply of affordable broadband, skilled ICT manpower, and local content and e-applications, with a special focus on the needs of the poor. It is also expected to help SASEC countries improve their productivity and efficiency and participate more fully in the global information economy. To this end, the Project will establish (i) a SASEC regional network with fiber-optic and data interchange capacity, directly connecting the four SASEC countries; (ii) a SASEC village network expanding broadband ICT access to 110 rural communities in the SASEC countries and providing direct connections among the communities for local networking and local information sourcing; and (iii) a SASEC research and training network to build technical and business skills in developing local ICT content and e-applications (e-government, e-learning, tele-medicine, e-remittance, e-commerce, etc.) that serve the needs of the poor in particular.
Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

ADB plays a major role to provide support for a regional approach among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal through the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Program since 2001. With its growing importance in development, information and communication technology (ICT) was added as one of the priority sectors to the SASEC Program in phase II.

Global communities and their economic activities, including regional and international communication and trade, are increasingly integrated through the electronic means and technologies. ICT has become a vital infrastructure in the transformation toward the information society and knowledge-based economy, which is as essential to an economy as road and rail networks, telephone and power systems have been in the past. ICT also enables inclusive growth and improves the poor people's livelihood as a mean to serve their various economic, social, financial, and educational needs. For these reasons, ICT is a strategic mean and of deep community and economic significance.

The SASEC ICT Working Group (ICTWG), comprising of secretaries of ministry of ICT of SASEC countries, has developed SASEC ICT Development Master Plan, which laid down the strategy, framework and priorities for SASEC ICT regional cooperation to harness full potential of ICT for poverty reduction and inclusive growth. The Master Plan, other others, identified three most urgent areas for improvements in ICT: fragmented cross border connectivity, poor rural information access, and insufficient human resource capacity. In order to address such needs, the SASEC countries has developed the concept of SASEC information highway which would deliver modern affordable and reliable broadband information, communication, and knowledge services within and across borders to universities, business, and to the rural and remote communities.

The Project will be an unprecedented landmark attempt, aiming to facilitate the flow and integration of information, contents, goods, services, knowledge, and ideas among the SASEC countries by directly linking borders, communities, businesses, and ICT training and research institutes, and building their capabilities and values in serving the purpose of poverty alleviation and inclusive growth, and thereby support the establishment of an ICT-enabled poverty reduction process under regional cooperation mechanism. It also considers the importance of ICT capacity building for local entrepreneurs through entrepreneurial education, incubation, mentoring and informal networking. In view of this, the Project components include building modern broadband infrastructure across borders and rural communities, enabling effective community participation through village network, delivering information access and poverty reduction services (such as education, health including HIV/AIDS and governance), and developing rural entrepreneurship and local business through research and training institutes to be addressed by the piggybacked TA.

Through the Project, it is expected that regional goods and services would be more integrated electronically and be delivered more cost effectively to the most marginalized people, which would contribute to accelerating the regional cooperation and integration process of the SASEC subregion. Since the Project is the first subregional investment project under the SASEC program, participated by all four countries, it would also mark a new milestone in the regional cooperation and integration in South Asia, demonstrating tangible benefits to be reaped after a decade's joint effort of SASEC countries.

ADB's South Asia Regional Cooperation Strategy and Program for 2006-2008 sets out five key operational objectives: to improve connectivity, to facilitate trade and investment, to develop regional tourism, to facilitate cooperation in energy, and to promote private sector cooperation. Improving transport and communications connectivity is expected to reduce transportation and communication costs, increase South Asia?s competitiveness, and facilitate the movement of goods and people, thereby promoting economic and social development.

Impact Enhanced regional flow, sharing, and integration of information, content, services, knowledge, and ideas in the SASEC subregion
Project Outcome
Description of Outcome ICT made more accessible, affordable, inclusive, sustainable, and useful to remote and rural communities, entrepreneurs, and research and training institutes in all SASEC countries
Progress Toward Outcome

(i) Regional network and (ii) village network component in Bangladesh completed in April 2014.

For components (i) regional network and (ii) village network in Bhutan, expects to be completed by end of 2017.

For Nepal component, all the physical activities (including testing and commissioning) as well as handing over the regional network facilities to Nepal Telecom, and CeCs to CeCs Operations Committees is completed. Nepal portion of the Project was financially closed on 5 October 2017.

For the TA financed research and training network, a research and training center in each of the four countries has been selected. Contract for consulting services was signed on 1 August 2011, and the needs assessments and strategic operation plans have been completed. The remaining implementation activities can be completed within the extended time by 31 December 2017.

RETA 6433-REG: SASEC RTN is closed on 31 December 2017.

Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

SASEC Regional Network

SASEC Village Network

SASEC Research and Training Network

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)

Consultant has been on board since August 2011 and activity will be completed by June 2015. Established (Kathmandu University).

Establishment of the fund is no longer in the strategic operation plan.

The village network component scaled up the existing bandwidth to the country's 20 district headquarters at Dzongkhag level, and extends further to 205 community centers (CCs) in the subdistricts at Geog level. therefore the broadband internet access is substantially expanded beyond the 30 CCs envisaged originally; enabling delivery of wide ranging benefits in greater scale, including the government's intorduction of G2C applications (Government to Citizen). At present the ADSS fiber extension to 182 CCs has been carried out, and termination and splicing of fibers including installation and configuration of equipment for 131 CCs have been completed. The contracts to connect and equip 54 CCs have been awarded and contract was signed on 17Mar2014. The remaining 20 CCs will be assessed and included.

completed in April 2014.

Not yet due

Not yet due

contract was signed with M/S Hamida Traders Limited on 22 August'2013 and will be completed by April'2014.

The construction of all the CeCs completed with installation of equipment.

Completed

Ongoing

Ongoing

As discussed in previous missions, ADB will need to request Government of India (GOI) for nomination of the 25 CeCs to participate in the project.

Construction of CeCs is completed with equipment installation.

Achieved on 26 April 2012. (IND - bilateral network agreements, each one signed by the service agencies in two countries)

Achieved on 26 April 2012. (BAN - bilateral network agreements, each one signed by the service agencies in two countries)

Achieved on 26 April 2012. (BHU - bilateral network agreements, each one signed by the service agencies in two countries)

Achieved on 26 April 2012. (NEP - bilateral network agreements, each one signed by the service agencies in two countries)

For in-country service agency India has selected Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL).

Achieved on 2 July 2009. Agreement was signed among the SASEC countries during the 5th SASEC Working Group Meeting and ICTWG setting out the overall framework and guidelines for the operation and implementation of the SASEC Regional Network.

For in-country service agency, an MOU has been signed between Bangladesh Telecommunications Limtied and MOICT on 9 March 2010.

For in-country service agency, an agreement was signed with Bhutan Telecom on 2 September 2011.

The router for connecting BHU, NEP and BAN has been installed in Siliguri Network Operating Center (NOC). BSNL has also laid fiber optic cable upto Bhutan border and they are waiting for hte last mile connectivity from Bhutan for doing patch-up at the border point.

Completed. The installed facilities have been handed over to Nepal Telecom, the service agency.

Contract was signed with M/S. Hamida Traders Ltd. and M/S. System & Services Limited Joint Venture (HTL-SSL) (contract value: $1.27 million) on 27 March 2013 and all the works are completed in April2014. BSNL has laid fiber optic cable upto Bhutan border. They are waiting for the last mile connectivity from BHU for doing patch up at the border point.

The proposed duplicate link of Thimphu to Phuentsholing in the original project design has already been constructed. Furthermore, the link between Thimphu and Gelephu has been funded and constructed. The main contract for supply of equipment, accessories and installation and related service is substantially completed. The commissioning was expected in March 2014, and a joint operation will be conducted with the service provider (Bhutan Telecom) for testing and optimizing the network data flow and interface.

Contract was signed with M/S. Hamida Traders Ltd. and M/S. System & Services Limited Joint Venture (HTL-SSL) (contract value: $1.27 million) on 27 March 2013 and all the works under contract completed in April 2014.

The DITT has implemented and established the SASEC RN along Thimpu-Phuntsholing and Thimpu-Gelephu route since March 2014.

Technical setup of Access gateway was completed in August 2015 in Nepal Telecom office, Kathmandu, Nepal

Ongoing

Contract was signed with M/S. Hamida Traders Ltd. and M/S. System & Services Limited Joint Venture (HTL-SSL) (contract value: $1.27 million) on 27 March 2013 and completed in April 2014.

Ongoing

Completed.

For in-country service agency , an MOU has been formed between Nepal Telecom and Ministry of Information and Communication (MOIC).

As of September 2017, RN and VN are completed in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal. RTN Consultants are working with the four countries for the logical connectivity through peering at Shiliguri NOC.

RETA 6433- SASEC RTN is closed on 31 December 2017. TA Consultants circulated the final report.

Geographical Location Bhutan - Nation-wide, Phuentsholing, Phuentsholing, Thimphu, Thimphu Dzongkhag
Safeguard Categories
Environment B
Involuntary Resettlement C
Indigenous Peoples C
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects

An initial environmental examination was carried out for the project the report of which conformed to the relevant laws and regulations of the governments of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal, and ADB's Environment Policy (2002) and Environmental Assessment Requirements (2003).

The proposed project components will cause insignificant adverse environmental impact. Environmental impact is likely to be caused by the development of CECs and cross-border links between Bangladesh and India. Some impact is also likely to be caused during the operation of

network access gateways, border township facilities, and CECs. The impact is associated with the disposal of office and e-waste, which is recyclable, and domestic sewage, which can be fully treated. The implementation of prescribed mitigation measures will minimize the predicted impact during project design and development as well as operation.

Involuntary Resettlement The Project is categorized as No Impact from Resettlement perspectives. Therefore, the Project will require no land acquisition or resettlement, and hence no resettlement plan.
Indigenous Peoples The positive impact on IP is very similar to the impact on non-IPs. Therefore, no IPDP is required.
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design

Consultations were conducted with government officials, key functionaries, and selected communities in three countries, except in India, where CECs will not be established. The consultations were aimed at acquiring a better understanding of the socioeconomic conditions of the people and gauging their views on project development.

Group discussions among women and the communities were held to capture social and economic standards and also to assess the impact that the Project will have on their lives. These discussions and consultations confirmed the need for this Project and drew a positive response of the communities and different stakeholders, particularly those in the rural areas. The participants acknowledged the fact that lack of appropriate and timely information has affected their exposure to development and their progress.

During Project Implementation Ongoing.
Business Opportunities
Consulting Services

Please refer to Grant 40054-03 (BHU component) and Grant 40054-04 (NEP component). Recruitment of Consultants is expected to take place on April 2008.

Project management consultants will be hired to assist the EA in implementing the Project. The project management consultant team will consist of (i) an international team comprising a team leader, a design engineer, and a procurement specialist; and (ii) four country teams each in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal.

Each country team will have three subteams: (i) a SASEC regional network team, (ii) a village network/research and training network team, and (iii) a joint team. Each of the first two subteams will comprise a team leader, a design engineer, a procurement specialist, and a network engineer. The joint team will consist of a social development specialist, an environment specialist, and a quality assurance specialist.

A firm of international consultants will be hired for 36 person-months, and a firm of national consultants, for 100 person-months in Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal, and for 63 person-months in India. The project management consultants will (i) design all networks to be procured under the Project; (ii) prepare bid documents; (iii) assist the project management unit in tendering (prequalification, evaluation of proposals, etc); and (iv) supervise contractors.

The project management consultants will be selected and hired according to ADB's Guidelines on the Use of Consultants (2007, as amended from time to time) through quality- and cost-based selection (80:20) and simplified technical proposal.

Procurement

Please refer to Grant 40054-03 (BHU component) and Grant 40054-04 (NEP component).

Procurement of goods, services, and civil works to be financed under the ADB grant and loan will be carried out in accordance with ADB's Procurement Guidelines (2007, as amended from time to time). Civil works and system development and installation contracts will be procured in accordance with the procurement plan

Responsible ADB Officer Kabir, Md. Humayun
Responsible ADB Department South Asia Department
Responsible ADB Division Bangladesh Resident Mission
Executing Agencies
Ministry of Science & Info & Comm Tech of BAN
Dr. Md.Ferdous Hossain
[email protected]
MOSICT
Timetable
Concept Clearance 21 Feb 2006
Fact Finding 30 Jul 2007 to 01 Aug 2007
MRM 03 Sep 2007
Approval 17 Dec 2007
Last Review Mission -
PDS Creation Date 02 Apr 2009
Last PDS Update 26 Jul 2018

Grant 0098-REG

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
17 Dec 2007 15 Dec 2008 02 Jul 2009 30 Jun 2010 31 Dec 2017 -
Financing Plan Grant Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 5.90 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 4.70 17 Dec 2007 4.72 0.00 100%
Counterpart 1.20 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 17 Dec 2007 4.61 0.00 98%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating Satisfactory Satisfactory Satisfactory Satisfactory - Satisfactory

Grant 0099-REG

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
17 Dec 2007 09 Feb 2009 02 Jul 2009 30 Jun 2010 31 Mar 2017 05 Oct 2017
Financing Plan Grant Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 7.20 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 5.00 17 Dec 2007 4.13 0.00 83%
Counterpart 2.20 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 17 Dec 2007 4.13 0.00 83%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating Satisfactory Satisfactory Satisfactory Satisfactory - Satisfactory

Loan 2397-REG

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
17 Dec 2007 15 Mar 2009 02 Jul 2009 30 Jun 2010 31 Dec 2014 15 Feb 2015
Financing Plan Loan Utilization
Total (Amount in US$ million) Date ADB Others Net Percentage
Project Cost 3.97 Cumulative Contract Awards
ADB 2.87 17 Dec 2007 2.12 0.00 100%
Counterpart 1.10 Cumulative Disbursements
Cofinancing 0.00 17 Dec 2007 2.12 0.00 100%
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating Satisfactory Satisfactory Satisfactory Satisfactory - Satisfactory

TA 6433-REG

Milestones
Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
17 Dec 2007 - 17 Dec 2007 31 Dec 2011 31 Dec 2017 -
Financing Plan/TA Utilization Cumulative Disbursements
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total Date Amount
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
4,400,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 4,400,000.00 17 Dec 2007 3,878,513.12
Status of Covenants
Category Sector Safeguards Social Financial Economic Others
Rating Satisfactory Satisfactory Satisfactory Satisfactory - Satisfactory

Project Data Sheets (PDS) contain summary information on the project or program. Because the PDS is a work in progress, some information may not be included in its initial version but will be added as it becomes available. Information about proposed projects is tentative and indicative.

The Public Communications Policy (PCP) recognizes that transparency and accountability are essential to development effectiveness. It establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced.

The Accountability Mechanism provides a forum where people adversely affected by ADB-assisted projects can voice and seek solutions to their problems and report alleged noncompliance of ADB's operational policies and procedures.

In preparing any country program or strategy, financing any project, or by making any designation of, or reference to, a particular territory or geographic area in this document, the Asian Development Bank does not intend to make any judgments as to the legal or other status of any territory or area.

Title Document Type Document Date
South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Information Highway Project - Loan for Bangladesh Procurement Plans Apr 2014
South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Information Highway Project - Grant for Bhutan Procurement Plans May 2012
South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Information Highway Project (Nepal Component) Project/Program Administration Manual Sep 2009
South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Information Highway Project (Bhutan Component) Project/Program Administration Manual Aug 2009
Loan Agreement for SASEC Information Highway Project- Bangladesh Component between People's Republic of Bangladesh and Asian Development Bank dated 15 March 2009 Loan Agreement (Special Operations) Mar 2009
Grant Agreement for SASEC Information Highway Project - Nepal Component between Nepal and Asian Development Bank dated 9 February 2009 Grant Agreement Feb 2009
Grant Agreement for SASEC Information Highway Project - Bhutan Component between Kingdom of Bhutan and Asian Development Bank dated 15 December 2008 Grant Agreement Dec 2008
South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Information Highway Project Design and Monitoring Frameworks Nov 2007
South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Information Highway Project Reports and Recommendations of the President Nov 2007
Proposed Asian Development Fund Grant Procurement Plans Nov 2007
South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Information Highway Project: Report and Recommendation of the President Reports and Recommendations of the President Nov 2007

Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards

Safeguard documents provided at the time of project/facility approval may also be found in the list of linked documents provided with the Report and Recommendation of the President.

None currently available.

Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation

None currently available.

Related Publications

None currently available.


The Public Communications Policy (PCP) establishes the disclosure requirements for documents and information ADB produces or requires to be produced in its operations to facilitate stakeholder participation in ADB's decision-making. For more information, refer to the Safeguard Policy Statement, Operations Manual F1, and Operations Manual L3.

Requests for information may also be directed to the InfoUnit.

Tenders

No tenders for this project were found.

Contracts Awarded

No contracts awarded for this project were found