Sunday, 26 September, 2021

Broadband growth outpaces mobile internet

The growth in the use of mobile internet has been slightly lower than broadband connections in the one last year amid a growing trend of staying at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of fixed internet connections grew by 17.26 percent while mobile internet saw a 16.2 percent year-on-year growth in July this year, official data shows. 

The number of internet users stood at 123.74 million, of which 113.69 million connections are mobile-based. The number of broadband internet connections is now 10.05 million.

Almost mobile operators have experienced slight growth as the number of mobile connections reached 176.48 million in July this year from 176.41 June last year.

Researchers said the country has to focus on increasing the penetration of fixed internet for creating a positive impact.

“We believe in statistics. However, the actual number of internet users is almost half as most of the people use both broadband and mobile internet on their devices. However, the growth of an economy depends on the consumption of digital services rather than the rise in the number of internet connections,” Syed Yusuf Saadat, an economist who works with the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), told the Daily Sun.

He said the digital economy requires increasing penetration of devices apart from growing the connections.

“Internet became an indicator of progress in the changing situation of corona pandemic. Amidst the closure of the educational institutes, there are many students are at risk of dropping from academic life due to lack of access to devices. In Bangladesh, below 5 per cent household has a computer,” Yusuf, a researcher on the digital economy, explained.

Industry insiders said the coronavirus pandemic has changed the landscape of internet connection as the mobility of the people has been declined significantly in the last one year.

To increase broadband connectivity, the government has fixed separate tariffs for fixed interment for rural and urban areas. However, the initiative is yet to be implemented across the country due to a delay in price-fixing at the service provider end.

Internet Service Providers Association Bangladesh (ISPAB) general secretary Emdadul Hoque said the people have become more habituate in digital lifestyle.

“The dependency on broadband internet increased due to lack of 4G coverage for mobile internet across the country. Besides, the growth of the economy depends on the penetration of fixed internet. We hope the service will reach more people after completion of the InfoSarkar-3 project of the government,” Emdadul Haque told the Daily Sun.

For every 10 per cent rise in broadband connectivity, the gross domestic product of any economy increase by 1.38 per cent. And every new 10,000 connection creates 10 new employments, according to a World Bank projection.