Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday termed Moheshkhali upazila under Cox’s Bazar district as the country’s first “Digital Island.”
She made the announcement while inaugurating the launching of a project titled “Digital Island Moheshkhali” that will connect the upazila with high-speed internet network. She said the project would make a huge contribution to socio-economic development of the upazila.
Opening the project digitally from her official residence Ganabhaban in the morning, the prime minister said that such a digital system will be introduced in other isolated areas in phases, reports UNB.
“Today’s launch is one more step towards the Digital Bangladesh Vision 2021, where we will have a prosperous and equitable middle-income Bangladesh by our golden jubilee of independence.
“What has been done on the Island of Moheshkhali, can be replicated in other hard to reach areas of the country, so that all corners of the country can benefit from the digital revolution,” Sheikh Hasina said via video link to the ceremony, according to an International Organisation for Migration (IOM) press release.
Sarat Dash, chief of mission for IOM Bangladesh, said: “I am grateful to the Government of Bangladesh for entrusting IOM and extending valuable support for the project since its inception.
“I believe this pilot project can really set an example on how the use of technology in remote areas can really bring about social change.”
KT’s Chief Executive Chang-Gyu Hwang, who linked in from South Korea via the new network system, said: “This project will be a good model for other areas in Bangladesh and even other countries that experience social and digital gap.”
Korea Telecom already pioneered the digital island concept in South Korea in 2014 and has now been invited to replicate its success in Bangladesh.
The project installed a fibre optic cable on Moheshkhali that now provides high speed internet to 30% of the island’s population or three of the island’s eight unions. The project hopes to extend the fibre optic network to privately owned enterprises by 2018.
The government, IOM and KT signed a MoU in February 2016 to embark upon the creation of the digital island project that would cost over Tk22 crores.
KT and IOM hope to hand over the entire project to the local community to run by June 2019.