A clear-cut digital divide persists in the country with no access to internet, first-level access and second-level access - depending on age, gender, geographical location and education, results of a survey revealed on Sunday.
Groups with people who are younger, more educated, literate, student, have more income, male, and located in Dhaka and Chattagram have more internet access than others, it noted.
The survey, conducted on 6,500 people in the country, showed that 52 per cent people, who are below 34 years old, have internet access, while only 15 per cent people aged above 34 years have access to internet.
The survey results were released in a webinar, organised by BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), titled "BIGD Digital Inclusion Series: Ep 2 - Digital Divide in Rural Bangladesh".
Dr Muhammad Shahadat Hossain Siddiquee, Senior Research Fellow at BIGD and Professor of Economics at University of Dhaka, and Md. Saiful Islam, Research Associate at BIGD, conducted the survey.
As a part of BIGD's digital inclusion research agenda, the survey explored the current state of digital literacy in rural Bangladesh by surveying 6,500 households across the country.
Its previous survey was on digital literacy through the first-ever Digital Literacy Index (DLI) developed in Bangladesh.
The survey found that there is a significant gender gap in terms of internet access and effectiveness in use. "About 38 per cent males have online skills as against 30 per cent among females."
Rangpur, the most poverty-prone division, as a reference division, has the lowest rate of internet access, while Chattagram has the highest access of internet, the survey found.
The research recommended that Bangladesh government needs to ensure skills-based training programmes (may be under PPP initiative or at subsidised costs) with a special focus on the rural people along with improving access.
It also suggested introducing universal coverage of ICT and hands-on ICT exercises in all educational institutions to help increase easy internet access in the longer-term.