Alternate Connectivity Solution : Critical Challenge for Developing

Bangladesh, like many other developing countries has the infrastructure
problem for promotion / utilization of ICT and related service for
education and information dissemination. The infrastructure problems
kept the major portion of population living in the rural areas far away
from the new revolution of Internet and ICT facilities, both educational
and Social / economic development perspective.

To reach the remote people, technological and development activists
along with govt. should come forward with workable and implementable
solution with new approach 'Alternate Connectivity'. The combination of
traditional and new technology, using existing telecom infrastructure
Alternate Connectivity can be ensured. For example, the rural people,
who don't have access to the net can be provided Personal Computers with
renewable energy support systems, if even electricity is not available.
Simultaneously, relevant content / educational materials of the net may
be made available in the form of CD / Floppy version with regular
updates can be provided. Locally published medical journals /
development issues can be easily collected and reproduced with prior
permission for distributing education and research purpose only.
Specifically, for the health professional and medical practitioner need
updated information of the modern medical science to keep themselves
updated and sharpen their knowledge. If the govt. / development partners
/ activist collect the educational programs like CME (Continued Medical
Education) / DL (Distance Learning) or health related information and
arrange distribution of the same through CD / Floppy and even through
print version to the target audience. Any other professional group /
community can also be served through the same approach.

ICT can open new channels that bring new knowledge and information
resources to rural communities. Traditional communication channels have
been used successfully but there have been monologic and have not
allowed for much interaction with users.

To ensure the connectivity, physical accessibility is a must and
Telecenter can be the role module and the need may be met as physical
access center. The educational institutes (Schools/Colleges)/ local
offices of the civil society (NGO) having minimum ICT facilities
(Computer and printer).

The Bangladesh model for disseminating information and education
materials, experiencing the pilot phase till now is a success with a
series of challenges. BDHealthInfo, a program of ICTDP (Information
Communication and Technology Development Program, Bangladesh) is
implementing MPTC (Multi Purpose Tele Center) at Sonagazi, Feni and
using Alternate Connectivity approach to bridge the the digital divide
gap. Local health professionals, women community and different
professional groups are sharing the benefits of ICT from the center.

As the connectivity and infrastructure is a long term issue and involved
huge investment, govt. and development partners should come forward and
support the Alternate Connectivity approach as a uplifting solution for
the developing countries like Bangladesh.

Please comment and join.

Best regards, 

Shahid Uddin Akbar

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