DHAKA, Bangladesh 

Slow mobile digital speed, poor electronic security, and availability of fewer digital technologists in Bangladesh are affecting various services in the country from banking to education, believe experts.

As Turkiye observes the 28th anniversary of the introduction of the mobile network on Wednesday, digital experts far away in Bangladesh lament at the poor network and poor mobile internet speed which has affected the pace of digitization in their country.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Ashikur Rahman, a professor at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), said the country lacked skilled digital workers and there is a need to hire more such people from abroad.

“We have a handful of engineering students graduating every year and 80% of them leave the country for better opportunities as the global market is offering a better work environment. We are unable to stop the brain drain,” he said.

Agneska Sablovskaja, a researcher at Surfshark – a cyber company – described Bangladesh as having the slowest mobile internet in the world, operating at 10.60 megabits per second (Mbps) against the average global speed of 41.22 Mbps.

According to Surfshark, Bangladesh ranks 103rd among 110 countries in providing quality digital life in Asia.

“Bangladeshis have the least affordable internet in Southern Asia. They have to spend money they earn for the entire workday to match the price of the cheapest broadband internet package,” said Sablovskaja.

Fahim Mashroor, a prominent technology entrepreneur, said during the COVID-19 pandemic the poor digital connectivity hit the people the most.

“Our online schooling and home office duty got disrupted and there is a sharp discrimination between urban and remote villages in availing the internet services and connectivity,” he added.

Rural areas need a separate package

He added that broadband internet service is yet to cover rural areas in Bangladesh.

“Therefore, most of the villagers have to depend on mobile phone internet which we found so poor and not working in many areas,” he said.

He asked for introducing a separate package for rural people to allow them to afford the rising costs of the internet.

“General universities could not produce the desired skilled manpower, which is also a tough job, whereas the private sector is also reluctant to invest in skill development among fresh graduates,” he said.

He urged the government to introduce an investment policy for fresh graduates in collaboration with the private sector on skill development.

“Bangladesh made progress in e-governance. But we are lagging in the e-payment system. Banks are yet to be equipped well. Banks and financial institutions need policy support to this end,” said Mashroor.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Bangladesh Posts, Telecommunications, and Information Technology Minister Mustafa Jabbar said the country has achieved remarkable progress in terms of digitalization as compared to previous years.

“Mobile phone operators have reached a wide range now. But they don’t acquire the necessary spectrum to provide such a wide range of users and coverage. The operators have restarted infrastructural development works that were suspended during the COVID pandemic,” said the minister.

He said Bangladesh’s growth pattern of internet use shows progress.

“We used 7.5 Gbps bandwidth in 2008 and it now reached 2700 Gbps in 2021. We have some 230 million internet users and 120 million of the totals are mobile phone network users which caused a rising pressure on the network service,” he said.

He said the government was trying its best to stop brain drain by introducing policy support to local innovation and skill development.

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