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Institute of Computer Management and Science

The oldest and largest computer education institute in Mirpur, Dhaka, Bangladesh. Established in 1989, ICMS Computer College has attained at this prestigious place at Mirpur with a population base of nearly 3 million. Graduates from ICMS are serving highly remunerable positions at home and abroad.


Sustainable Development Networking Programme

UNDP funded programme based on Rio Summit (The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Rio Summit, Rio Conference, Earth Summit) implementing Agenda 21 utilizing ICT for Development in Bangladesh.


BBC Interview
Web without wires reaches out
Wednesday, 15 January, 2003, 11:58 GMT
Web without wires reaches out
Rural Bangladesh, BBC
Many rural areas in Bangladesh lack net access
The BBC's Waliur Rahman in Dhaka reports on a project to use a wireless network to extend internet net access to rural areas of Bangladesh.

Until now the students and staff of the Bangladesh Agricultural University have used a modem and unreliable phone lines to connect to the net, making it difficult for them to keep abreast of developments in their specialist fields.

Using the net involved a long-distance phone call to the capital Dhaka.

But, from today, they will enjoy fast internet access via a wireless link to Dhaka, thanks to a project funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Costly calls

The Agricultural University sits on the outskirts of Mymensingh, a thriving district town about 100 kilometres north of the capital Dhaka.

Until now the country's largest agricultural institution, along with the town, has had no local internet service provider.


We hope to provide low-cost connections to local hospitals, schools and non-profits groups


Hakikur Rahman

As a result everyone in Mymensingh used net service providers in Dhaka, but this meant hefty telephone bills to get online.

To cut the cost of net access in places such as Mymensingh, the UN agency has provided about $1.5m to launch the Sustainable Development Network Project (SDNP).

This project will give the University a 2megabits connection to the net that will be significantly cheaper to use than the existing system because it removes the need to make long distance calls.

The project manager, Hakikur Rahman, told the BBC that educational institutions in five other towns - Rajshahi, Sylhet, Khulna, Barisal and Chittagong - will also be connected under the project.

Linking all these institutions through a national wireless network, he says, will help students access and share information.

Rural link

"In the future, we hope to provide low-cost connections to local hospitals, schools and non-profits groups as well," he says.

Mr Rahman says the project also provides data-based services which are available free of cost.

Bangladesh is relatively new to the field of information technology because net service providers were only permitted from the mid-1990s. Even now net facilities are concentrated in big cities such as Dhaka.

Mr Rahman says the wireless technology will be hugely beneficial for the people who live in rural areas and on remote islands that have no telephone facilities.

The project officials are also optimistic about the future prospects for their efforts, even if the donor funds dry up.

Mr Rahman says measures have already been taken to ensure that the project can run without any foreign funding.


BBC Feature

Wireless net strides Bangladesh

Sunday, 6 October, 2002, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
Wireless net strides Bangladesh
Building work at Mymensingh University
The university will house an online computer lab
  Alfred Hermida

The computer lab at the Bangladesh Agriculture University in Mymensingh is little more than a building site.

The only sign of any kind of technology is a tall radio mast on the roof of this leading agricultural college.

But once the work is completed, the staff and students here will enjoy fast internet access via a wireless link to the capital, Dhaka, more than 100 kilometres away.

The university is one in a group of institutions of higher education due to be hooked up to the net using wireless technology, in a project funded by the United Nations Development Programme, (UNDP).

Age of information

At the moment the university relies on a modem housed in a cupboard with wires trailing along the wall to connect to the internet over an unreliable phone line.

Radio tower
A radio tower provides a wireless internet link

"Without information systems, you are isolated in the world," said the Vice-Chancellor, Mustafizur Rahman.

"Information is essential to Bangladesh in terms of business and science. This is the age of information."

The network is intended to do more than just link up the universities in Bangladesh, allowing them to share information.

The aim is to set up a national wireless network, with the universities acting as regional internet centres.

The centres would provide low-cost net connections to hospitals, schools and non-profit groups in rural areas where going online is difficult.

"At the moment they rely on a dial-up to Dhaka over an unreliable landline at a slow speed," said Dr Hakikur Rahman, the project co-ordinator in Bangladesh.

"With a radio link we can offer speed of up to 64,000 bps using a series of transmitters that will bounce the signal across the country."

Out of date?

Creating a national wireless internet network comes at a price. The five-year project is receiving $1.4m from the UNDP, as well as additional funding from international donors such as the Department for International Development in the UK.

It is part of the UNDP's Sustainable Development Network Programme, which is active in about 50 countries.

UNDP representative in Bangladesh Jorgen Lissner
Lissner: The technology has moved on

The scheme was conceived in the early 1990s as a way of taking advantage of wireless technologies to take the internet in developing countries.

But the programme has had mixed success. In countries with no telecommunications infrastructure, like Bhutan, the scheme has worked well.

UNDP officials in Bangladesh admit the project has faltered.

"The idea is still valid but the technology has moved on," said the UNDP representative in Bangladesh, Jorgen Lissner.

"It still has its place, though. The project was an early attempt to give academic institutions access to journals and other materials via the internet."

"We do not pretend that this will cover the needs of the next generation, such as children in secondary and primary school," he admitted.

"But you need a nucleus of people with an understanding of this tool. Eventually it will filter through to schools."

Uncertain future

Experts are concerned about who will pay for the running and upkeep of the national wireless network once the international funds have dried up.

"There is an issue over whether the network can be self-sustainable," said Partha Pratim Sarker of the technology for development website Bytes For All.

"There is a real need for such a network in Bangladesh. Technology is rapidly changing so we are always looking for cheaper technologies," he said.

The backers of the project hope that the wireless network will eventually be able to pay for itself by offering internet access to rural communities.

SDNP Regional Nodes:

The Daily Star technical feature on BDIX

The spark of a tech conflagration




Vol. 5 Num 169 Wed. November 10, 2004  

Tech Focus
The spark of a tech conflagration
SDNP Bangladesh reveals BDIX, a local internet exchange

For the first time ever in Bangladesh an effort to locally manage local internet traffic was made through the introduction of Bangladesh Internet Exchange (BDIX), a not-for-profit partnership between Sustainable Development Networking Programme (SDNP) Bangladesh. BDIX establishes a physical interconnection between ISPs to exchange internet traffic.


Bangladesh still depends on satellite bandwidth sharing, which causes any transfer of files or mails between local ISPs to go through the channels of foreign servers, taking up more bandwidth and resulting in a huge expenditure of foreign currency. The local server at BDIX will facilitate faster net access for any local traffic by providing faster connection between BDIX member ISPs.


The bandwidth project was taken up in August 2004 by the Sustainable Environment Management Programme (SEMP) of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF), which is funded by UNDP and executed by Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (Bids) and Internet Service Providers of Bangladesh.


The current status and advantages of BDIX were discussed at a press briefing on November 6 at the BDIX Pilot office of SDNP Bangladesh in Pantha Path.

A detailed technical presentation on BDIX was made by Dr Hakikur Rahman, project coordinator of SDNPBD at the event.


Using Cisco routers to channel the local traffic, BDIX expects to manage all local internet traffic locally and thus enhance user compatibility and lower bandwidth cost.

"We are hoping to cut down the foreign currency loss due to international routing of local traffic," said Dr M Asaduzzaman, research director and project director of BIDS and SDNPBD Bangladesh, lamenting that local web users in Bangladesh go all around the globe to send email to their next-door neighbors.


"We look forward to country-based international web-mails such as mail.yahoo.co.bd," states Dr Rahman. He commends the government's enthusiasm to support such efforts to collaborate with internet giants.


"At present, six local ISPs are connected through our BDIX network," states Dr Rahman, naming ISN, Bangladesh Online Ltd. (BOL), BDCom Online Ltd., SDNPBD, Link3 and AccessTel. Four other ISPs are in the queue to be connected through BDIX.

Most of these ISPs are using DSL or Radio-link connections to amend the quality of usage.

"We hope that the regulatory board will continue providing a supporting environment for such exchange server," said Dr Rahman.


The exchange server membership at present is free of cost.

"We are still in the testing-phase," he explained.

Thus BDIX does not plan on acquiring any finance from its members as its project is well-established and runs on full-comprehension.


The expected time frame on such matters may well range from two to five months or a little more, while BDIX acquire further troubleshooting skills on the exchange server.

"All we are looking for is a larger number of members on the server, a good promotion, and then we can go ahead and claim our share of pioneering the effort," Rahman added.


The creators of the exchange server plan to establish a national data centre within a short period. The net exchange server will then include web server, local newspaper server, chat server and net filter server.

This data centre will also include a server for academic and research institutes of the country, corporate networks, financial sectors, and possibly all the local ISPs of Bangladesh.

SDNPBD has already set up radio links in Dhaka and Mymensingh to set up routing nods for the exchange. Other regional links yet to be set using VSAT nodes include Satkhira, Cox's Bazaar and Barisal districts. The server administrators are willing to take their efforts to the grass-root levels to offer the goods of net connection to the locals of such rural areas.

The submarine cable is expected to enter the country through Cox's Bazaar, which is one reason why BDIX has chosen Cox's Bazaar to be one of the major routing nodes of the exchange server.


The administrators expect to establish multipurpose village information centres, which will be the ultimate target for BDIX. "We already have a successful model running in Phulpur," states Dr Rahman. BDIX will be using the routing nodes at Khulna, Barisal, and Cox's Bazaar to reach out the rural localities from these locations. At the same time, northern regions of Bangladesh will now be under specific emphasis. "Mid and southern Bangladesh have been attaining some development on IT sector expansion, unlike the northern regions," Dr Rahman added. SDNPBD will now focus on development of these locations using specific terms and supporting regulations hoped to be offered by BTRC.


SDNPBD has received remarkable donations from Packet Clearing House (PCH), a US-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), which has supplied SDNPBD with remarkable numbers of computers along with two Cisco routers and a Sun Solaris server. In turn, SDNPBD has distributed computers to sixty-four schools throughout the country including rural locations of Chuadanga, Natore, MunshiGanj and Jhinaidaha.


Other achievements of SDNPBD so far include establishment of news and media support programme in major press clubs throughout the country in partnership with the National Press Club. Objectives of such an effort include a quicker and efficient news flow throughout the country as well as removing digital division among journalists. This is expected to build a stronger local and international media network.


There is no doubt that this enormous project will be a boon for the rural ICT development for Bangladesh once implemented. The exchange server has already started taking local bandwidth loads within three months of its existence. More frontline ISPs should join hands to make this project a success and help build a technologically independent Bangladesh.


The heart of the BDIX




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