The jungle book

School Broadband: ISPs Require Inclusive Tendering

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are calling for a revised tender dividing Bangladesh into blocks to allow all ISPs to join in the process of connecting broadband to 41,000 primary schools.

“There must be opportunities for small ISPs to participate in the tender to provide internet connection to schools in the country,” said the chairman of the Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB), Emdadul Haque.

“The option should not be for one ISP connecting all schools, the tender should divide the country into blocks so that ISPs individually or as part of a consortium can participate…”, he said. he told the FE.

The Ministry of Primary and Mass Education recently ordered relevant authorities to review the previous tender worth Tk 2.0 billion in the face of protests from ISPs.

The tender stipulated that only mobile operators were eligible to participate in the process.

ISPs require the participation of mobile operators as well as broadband providers in the tender by modifying the conditions.

According to the previous tender, a mobile phone company has already been awarded the work order to provide 20 Mbps data at 5.0 Mbps speed for one month.

However, the ministry canceled the work order last week and started reviewing the whole process.

Mr. Haque says: “Mobile operators cannot provide such internet to schools, but ISPs can provide unlimited high-speed data. Nevertheless, we want mobile operators and ISPs to participate in the tender.

“We do not want to profit from this project. We want our primary schools to benefit from a quality connection.”

The Ministry of Primary Education launched open tenders in November 2021 to provide broadband to 41,000 public primary schools.

After verification and selection, a mobile phone operator was commissioned to provide Internet connection via a Wi-Fi system in 39,701 schools in 61 districts, excluding three hill districts.

In the first phase, the department requested the Mobile Network Operator (MNO) to provide the Wi-Fi system and SIM card to the district primary education office to connect 1,000 schools.

In March, the Minister of State for Primary and Mass Education, Md Zakir Hossain, inaugurated internet connectivity via Wi-Fi in primary schools.

The MNO was supposed to provide a connection at a speed of 5.0 Mbps to each school with a data cap of 20 Gbps.

There are 6,830 schools in Dhaka Division, 5,944 in Chattogram, 5,110 in Khulna, 3,908 in Barisal, 5,415 in Rajshahi, 5,967 in Rangpur, 3,160 in Sylhet and 3,367 in Mymensingh.

Broadband Internet service providers objected to several tender conditions after the tender for the implementation of PEDP-04.

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