The GiGA island project of Korea Telecom is going to crave a real boon for Moheshkhali – an island famous for its beauty and tranquillity in the Bay of Bengal.
The project aims to transform Moheshkhali into a digitised island, ensuing quality life with the help of technology, said Sun-joo Lee, head of Korea Telecom (KT) Sustainability Management Centre.
She added that GiGA will bring Moheshkhali under ICT, and thus it will contribute to socio-economic development, besides removing electricity shortage and setting up high-speed internet.
Lee gave her insight in an exclusive interview with the Dhaka Tribune on Thursday.
What types of infrastructure are you going to build in Moheshkhali?
Moheshkali is the location for the first KT (Korea Telecom) ‘GiGA Island’ project in Bangladesh. GiGA Island is an initiative from KT that aims to enhance the quality of life and provide better access in terms of education, culture and healthcare for people who live in remote areas, such as highlands and islands, by providing high-speed internet network and customised ICT solutions. Until now, the island had inadequate public services such as education, medical care, and information access due to its geographic limitations and poor telecommunications/IT environment. However, with KT’s GiGA Island project coming to Moheshkali, everything is poised to transform.
How will digital technologies work to transform the life of Moheshkhali people?
KT has built a ‘GiGA Microwave’ to link the island and inland area, and ‘GiGA Wire’ using copper wire for intra-island traffic. This infrastructure will help the island eliminate the problem of shortage of electricity and internet, and over 30% of the residents will be enabled to communicate using internet or telephones. This infrastructure serves as a ‘Virtual Bridge’ that links the distance of 11.6km between the inland area of Cox’s Bazar and the island with a maximum internet speed of 500Mbps.
In addition to the virtual bridge infrastructure, KT is also providing teleconferencing solutions – the ‘KBOX’ – to 12 different educational institutions on Moheshkhali Island to support remote education for elementary school students. These students on Moheshkhali Island are now offered quality English classes from highly skilled teachers in Dhaka three times a week.
Lastly, Ultrasound and Yodoc, are two high-speed internet-based mobile healthcare solutions that will be provided to the medical institutes on Moheshkhali Island. The mobile ultrasonic instruments are expected to aid swift treatment by facilitating knowledge sharing with inland hospitals without any hardware equipment. Yodoc is a diagnostic solution that can detect nearly 10 types of diseases such as diabetes or liver cell disease.
How did Korean people change their life through GiGA island project?
Over the past two years, KT has implemented several successful SDGs projects based on technologies developed for five GiGA stories in Korea. There are five operational GiGA projects currently in Korea: in Imja-do Island, Daeseongdong, Baengnyeong-do Island, Cheonghak-dong, and Gyodongdo.
Among them, Cheonghak-dong, which is located at 800m above sea level, in the middle of Jiri Mountain, has a high possibility of isolation and accident due to the nature of the mountainous area. It was necessary to improve the whole of infrastructure such as education, culture, and medical care because it was not easy for the residents of Cheonghak-dong to communicate with the outside world. With KT’s GiGA LTE and GiGA Wi-Fi facilities, the network speed has been improved in Cheonghak-dong, a place where it is difficult to construct optical cable. KT constructed a converged solution across the entire living infrastructure such as education, culture, medicine care, etc.
Why are you interested to build such project in Bangladesh?
KT has strived to realise Digital Bangladesh with our telecommunications technologies since 2004. This GiGA Island project in Bangladesh was initiated with the purpose of helping Bangladeshis live a better quality life through ICT, and to achieve this vision, KT has been working closely with the Bangladesh government. The Bangladesh Ministry of ICT, International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and KT signed a trilateral MOU at Mobile World Congress 2016 in Spain, and State Minister of ICT, Zunaid Ahmed, visited the ‘GiGA Island’ in Korea during May last year.
How would Bangladesh get benefit from this project?
Bangladesh is trying to move forward with great national development strategies like ‘Digital Bangladesh 2021’ and other activities. The government is trying to provide residents with better access to public services living on islands and highlands through ICT.