Monday, November 14, 2005 - Bangladesh Telecom

Bangladesh lags in Internet use in business

The use of the Internet in the areas of commerce and trade in the developing world is high, showing the highest rate in Africa. But in Bangladesh the Internet growth rate is slow due to its non-affordability and inaccessibility.

Though non-industrialised regions have already faced numerous obstacles in the areas of business facing a competitive disadvantage as businesses around the world increasingly use the Internet, which is proving to have great advantages for development in the world’s poorer nations, a new United Nations Conference on Trade and Development report said.

ISPAB president Akhtaruzzaman Manzu, however, told the news agency Sunday that though the country could not provide statistics on the topic, Internet through Broadband and dialup connection have not been used in the entire business arena.

Moreover, in the country, there is no regulation in Internet service including VoIP, he said, adding that the growth rate of the Internet is about 7 per cent though the PSTN service is
also slow and the total Internet system is not cost-effective.

He hoped that the introduction of the Submarine cable network would change the scenario and make the country increase the use of Internet, especially in the business sector.

Bangladesh is not only to extend Internet access widely to businesses but to standardise their banking, credit, accounting and cyber security systems to enable domestically based firms to play on a level field with international competitors, according to some ICT leaders, he added.

Meanwhile, the Information Economy Report 2005 pointed out that use of the Internet for obtaining and providing business information, carrying out financial transactions, setting up deals, and finding and nurturing customers is growing rapidly in a limited number of developing countries that have succeeded in participating in the wired economy.

Although use of Internet in South-East Asia and other developing regions is higher, even in China - the world’s second-largest Internet market - there is an Internet penetration rate of only 7.2% inhabitants.

The gap in business use between the developed and non-developed world appears to be vast, the report states. Some 89 per cent of enterprises in European Union nations are connected to the Internet. Figures are scarce for developing countries, but while Trinidad and Tobago, where 77 per cent of firms are connected, and Singapore (76 per cent), have high rates of business use, connections in Mauritius (5 per cent) and Thailand (9 per cent) are much lower.

The report states that broadband is spreading quickly in developed countries and in a few Asian developing nations, but most of the world’s poorer countries lag far behind.

Broadband penetration rates of less than 1 per cent were found even in nations relatively advanced in information and communication technology, such as South Africa, Mauritius, Egypt and Tunisia.

Similarly, while e banking and other financial services are used by 68 per cent of enterprises in the EU, almost no developing economies covered by the UNCTAD survey report are employing the Internet for these purposes.

UNCTAD is participating in a global Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development to coordinate work on ICT statistics and to help developing countries collect comparable data.

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