Tk 5,883cr digital connectivity project on way
The government is set to undertake a huge Tk 5,883 crore digital connectivity project, in a move that could equip every corner of the country with the latest ICT infrastructure, making almost all government services digital and increasing the use of ICT at field levels.
Under the project, the government will establish 109,244 broadband and user connections, 10,000 digital labs, 57 specialised labs, a central cloud platform and frontier technology centre of excellence, IT infrastructure in district and upazila complexes and training facilities.
With the new IT infrastructure covering eight divisions, 64 districts and all upazilas, including union and village levels, the government wants to make its services accessible to the people in a quicker and easier manner by converting them into e-services.
The project proposal will be placed at the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council on Tuesday for approval.
The implementation period of the project starts from January 2021 and ends in December 2024 with the ICT department of the division being in charge of the implementing agency.
"The project will make all government offices and institutions across the country digital," NM Zeaul Alam, senior secretary to the ICT Division, told The Daily Star yesterday.
Of the project's total cost, around 65 per cent, or Tk 3,378.5 crore, will come as a loan from the Chinese government while the rest Tk 2,505 crore will be funded from government sources.
"In addition to financing, China will also provide some technical and consultancy assistance," he added.
Besides, a 21-story tower will be built in the capital's Purbachal to house an academy featuring modern ICT labs and facilities to nourish IT entrepreneurs.
The ICT department has already leased a three-bigha plot for the tower, which will create research opportunities for the fourth industrial revolution and human resource development, according to officials.
A digital literacy centre with an ICT lab and other necessary infrastructure, including smart virtual classrooms and distance learning platforms, will also be established under the project.
Besides, 10 digital villages, around 492 non-residential buildings and, for establishing a shared ICT operation centre, the building of 491 upazila complexes will be expanded upward by one story.
Under 10 digital village stations, field surveys will be conducted and 20,000 farmers will be provided with "Sensor Devices".
With 10,000 new Sheikh Russel Digital Labs, the country's secondary and higher secondary school and equivalent institutions will get a boost in transforming their traditional learning system, said Md Rezaul Maksud Jahedi, the project director.
According to Jahedi, there are over 30,000 institutions eligible to house such labs and the ICT division has already installed over 4,000 such labs, covering 23 per cent of the institutions.
There are another 5,000 such labs also being established under a different project.
"If the project gets the final nod, with the new addition, over 70 per cent of such educational institutions will have computer labs. This will speed up the expansion of computer education," he added.
According to the planning commission and ICT division, the project will transform government services into e-services, making them more accessible to the public.
The 100 per cent broadband penetration will increase the accessibility of ICT across the country, ensuring good governance at all levels of the government, and human resource development through the application of new ICT technology, the commission said.