Bangladesh to complete rural digital exchange rollout in three years

7 Oct 2010

The government of Bangladesh has announced it is pushing ahead with plans to complete a rollout of digital local telephony exchanges to rural areas within two to three years, reports the New Nation newspaper. Post and Telecoms Minister Raziuddin Ahmed announced that digital exchanges – already covering most upazila (sub-district) centres and certain other growth towns and trade centres – are to be rolled out to village level under the state’s plan. The proposal ties in with a state plan announced last month to deploy optical fibre linking all rural union councils – numbering approximately 4,500 – by end-2012 to make high speed internet facilities available to villagers. The minister said that national PSTN operator Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL) could augment the fibre network project by installing fixed lines at union level.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that BTCL began upgrading its network to digital in 1990, starting in Dhaka, and by mid-2004 all 64 district headquarters had a digital network and access to the internet, with digital exchanges established in around 420 of the country’s 482 upazilas by end-June 2010, compared to 389 two years before. The minister added that BTCL is implementing a plan to replace the remaining analogue exchanges in certain upazila headquarters, including the Chittagong Hill Tracts region, by next year. He added that BTCL has also proposed further expansion of fixed line coverage at village level through expansion of CDMA-based wireless in the local loop (WiLL) networks.


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