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ICT Development Index

Bangladesh slips by one notch to 147

BTRC chairman blames ITU ranking system

| Updated: November 28, 2017 10:55:19

Bangladesh slips by one notch to 147

Bangladesh has gone one notch down in the latest ICT Development Index (IDI) of International Telecommu-nications Union (ITU).

It secured 147th place in this year's IDI index, one step down from the 146th place last year, according to the index published recently.

It is among the lowest ranking countries within the Asia Pacific region, but ahead only of Pakistan, Kiribati, Solomon Island and Afghanistan.

Notably, the country's IDI value in this year's index was 2.53, slightly higher than the score of 2.37 it achieved last year.

Published by ITU -- the specialised agency of the United Nations for Information and Communi- cation Technology, the IDI and the accompanying Measuring the Information Society (MIS) report is widely recognised as the repository of the world's most reliable and impartial global data and analysis on the state of global ICT development.

While Bangladesh's position remaining unchanged in the access sub-index and skill sub-index in this year's IDI, the ranking went down to 149 from 147 in the use sub-index.

When it comes to access indicators, the ITU report shows that although Bangladesh's household computer usage, internet usage and bandwidth speed has gone up substantially, the percentage of mobile subscription has gone down from 81.9 per cent in the year 2015 to 77.9 per cent in 2016.

It was notable, however, that the mobile subscription rate in the country took a downturn last year with the government's move for biometric registration of all mobile SIMs.

Nevertheless, Bangladesh's slight decline in this crucial ICT index may raise a few eyebrows given the government's recent drive for mass digitisation in the country.

When contacted, the country's telecom regulators however blamed the current ranking system of ITU and its relevant indicators which, according to them, 'do not favour countries like Bangladesh'.

"The factors that are currently taken into account for developing this index do not really give the full picture of countries like Bangladesh," said Shahjahan Mahmood, chairman of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).

"During the recent World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators Symposium in Tunisia, I have asked ITU to revisit the indicators associated with this ranking," he said. "Many other developing countries like India and Pakistan have supported us on this issue."

Iceland has taken the first position in this year's IDI, followed by the Republic of Korea while Switzerland placed third.

The Maldives, which placed 85th in this year's IDI, lead the South Asian countries in the ranking while Sri Lanka at the 117th position. Meanwhile, India secured the 134th place.

Despite Bangladesh's slight decline in the IDI ranking, the ITU report has taken positive notes of Bangladesh's recent growth in the number of mobile-broadband users.

"Bangladesh has witnessed rapid expansion of 3G networks which is significantly impacting the growth of mobile-broadband users and it is looking forward to introduce LTE technology," the report said.

"However, fixed Internet penetration is increasing day by day as several initiatives and policies have been formulated and implemented by the government of Bangladesh to successfully achieve the vision of Digital Bangladesh," it added.

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