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Monday, October 22, 2012
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Telecoms missing from global list

Outsourcing business fears backlash

The government's failure to hand in the necessary input on time has cost Bangladesh a spot in a global telecommunication publication relied heavily by the outsourcing industry.

The United Nations' International Telecommunication Union recently published the ICT Development Index based on information and communication technologies' indicators, grouped in three clusters of access, use and skills, of some 155 countries -- but not Bangladesh.

The index is a standard tool that governments, operators, development agencies, researchers and others use to measure the digital divide and compare ICT performance within and across countries.

The index is published every two years, with the studies illustrating the level of ICT development made by the countries since the last publication.

“Exclusion from the list would affect the promising outsourcing business of Bangladesh,” said Mahboob Zaman, a former president of Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services.

He said the developed countries' businesses consider their outsourcing destinations after getting the ICT standard or ranking of developing countries.

“It is nothing but a political and bureaucratic negligence,” said an analyst who preferred not to be named.

According to the telecommunications ministry, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) is responsible for sending in the information to the UN body.

And as per a BTRC official, the data was sent to the UN body -- but it did not meet the deadline.

“This is a great pity because the IDI is one way of assessing whether any progress has been made through the 'digital Bangladesh' initiative,” said Rohan Samarajiva, chairman and chief executive of the Colombo-based telecom think-tank LIRNEasia.

Telecom analyst Abu Saeed Khan said, “The authorities have miserably failed by not meeting the deadline for feeding ITU the very basic telecom indicators. As a result, Bangladesh has been wiped out of the global telecoms map."

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