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BCC to provide internet access in 617 remote unions

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Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) of the ICT Division has founded a project called “Connected Bangladesh” to provide internet access to remote areas of the country. The project started in October 2018 and will run till December 2023 with an estimated cost of  BDT 50443.31 lacs. Through this project, BCC will ensure internet facilities in 617 remote unions of Bangladesh. Under the project, a high network will be established in the telecommunication-deprived areas.

One of the objectives of this project is to provide network connectivity to all schools, colleges, madrasas, growth centres, telecom operators etc. in remote areas. Apart from promoting e-commerce, e-services, telemedicine through high-speed internet usage, one of the goals of the project is to increase employment in the IT sector and create new entrepreneurs.

The Connected Bangladesh project is being implemented with the funding of the ‘Social Obligation Fund (SOF)’ managed by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) under the Posts and Telecommunications Division to expand telecommunication facilities. Under this project, 8106 km of optical fibre cable is being installed at the union level, backbone router and DC power system are being installed in the union and pop room renovation work are underway.

Bangladesh Cable Shilpa Ltd, Khulna a state-owned company, has procured 8106 km of optical fibre cable and 5,000 km of duct pipes. As of January 2022, according to the internal data of the project, the work of Pop Room Renovation is about 51.28% and the work of laying Optical Fiber Cable is about 40.22%.

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Pioneering Tech Visionary Iqbal Ahmed: Elevating Bangladesh’s IT Landscape

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Iqbal Ahmed Fakhrul Hasan, well known in the field of information technology as ‘Divine Russell’. He is the founder of Divine IT Limited, the country’s leading software development company, and PrismERP, the country’s first web-based ERP – Prism ERP.

He is a computer science graduate. Since the beginning of his studies in 1996, he has been familiarizing himself with new technologies and has been involved in managing computer hardware, internet services, and consulting businesses. He has successfully automated large government and private organizations in the country with his own coded software.

Over the past 20 years, Divine IT has been managing businesses with customer satisfaction and success through advanced technology and innovation. PrismERP is a flagship product of Divine IT Limited. Divine IT Limited is a software company certified with CMMI Level 3 and ISO’s

In addition to his remarkable success, Divine IT has received several awards in the IT sector, including the National Productivity Awards 2015, 2018, APTICA international Award 2017, and WITSA Global Excellence ICT Award 2020, and the Daily Star ICT Awards 2022 for ‘ICT Solution Provider of the Year (Local Market).

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As a major software development company in the country, Divine IT was awarded the status of ‘Private Software Technology Park’ by the Bangladesh government in 2018. Since 2005, the company has been working both locally and internationally. Currently, the company has 9 copyright products.

PrismERP by Divine IT is Bangladesh’s first ERP software capable of managing and automating more than 40 types of business sectors. More than 400 businesses in Bangladesh are using PrismERP for their daily business management. In international ERP solution competitions, PrismERP is a reliable and popular brand among domestic and foreign companies.

Without any external funding, over the past 20 years, Iqbal Ahmed has tirelessly worked in the IT industry, overcoming various challenges, and strengthening his company.

Iqbal Ahmed Fakhrul Hasan is a candidate in the upcoming election of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services (BASIS) for the term 2024-2026.
He has shared his plans for the formation of a Smart Bangladesh, the development of the local software industry, and the acquisition of significant amounts of government procurement.

Iqbal Ahmed states that due to systematic management of the company and process-driven approaches, he has decided to participate in the BASIS election to work for the advancement of the industry. He added “throughout my long career, I have faced and solved various problems and challenges as a software and IT entrepreneur. I believe these solutions are very common for other members of our industry as well. These solutions can save time and money, as well as overcome failures. With this hope and belief, I am participating in this year’s BASIS election. I know and understand this industry well. I believe that with the necessary planning and initiatives, I will be able to solve these complex problems and challenges for the development of our industry.”

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He also added that I have contributed to BASIS as an entrepreneur from the beginning of my journey as a software entrepreneur. In the past, I have worked for BASIS and the industry as a member of various committees and sub-committees, including Access to Finance, HR Development, Communication Solutions, Local Market Development, and Advisory Standing Committees. Outside of BASIS, I regularly provide advice and assistance in sustaining IT businesses, company infrastructure, long-term business planning, compliance, bank investment, and auditing software on an intellectual property basis.

In the field of software and service exports, Bangladesh is now exporting software and services to more than 80 countries worldwide, including the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Canada. There are plans to establish export desks in many new countries to achieve further export targets.

He thinks there are lots of places in BASIS’s secretariat that still need to be improved. BASIS is not having its own space. So his initiative will be to establish BASIS’s own space by 2026, where it can be possible to make BITM training more effective.

He dreams boldly of a future where Bangladesh leads the world in IT innovation, where our own talents fuel the engine of progress. With a vision to diminish reliance on foreign IT services, he wants to nurture homegrown industry growth, igniting a transformative journey towards our nation’s prosperity and advancement.

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Banglalink’s Parent Company VEON Achieves ‘AA’ ESG Rating

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VEON, a leading global digital operator, and parent company of Banglalink, has been upgraded to an ‘AA’ Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) rating by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI).

MSCI provides critical decision support tools and services for the global investment community. 

Banglalink, alongside other VEON operators across the world, has positively contributed to the overall rating through its commitment to fostering a sustainable and digitally inclusive future.

In Bangladesh, the commitment to the “4G for all” initiative has been transformative, empowering communities with access to innovative digital services in line with the government’s Smart Bangladesh vision. 

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In alignment with its ESG agenda, Banglalink aims to increase its female customer base by three percent, reaching 29 percent by 2026. This goal was formally announced in collaboration with the GSMA’s Connected Women initiative at the recently concluded Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. 

Additionally, Banglalink will continue to impact millions of lives through its awareness and educational activities via its unique digital platforms, such as the MyBL Super App and Toffee. Currently, the MyBL SuperApp, the country’s first telco super app, has over eight million monthly active users. 

Furthermore, Banglalink has recently upgraded its network with modern and sustainable technologies that not only emit fewer carbon emissions but also align with environmentally friendly practices.

This achievement underscores VEON’s commitment to fostering employee engagement and satisfaction. VEON Group CEO, Kaan Terzioglu, has expressed pride in the company’s employee management, which boasts an above-industry-average score. 

At the heart of VEON’s success across its six markets, serving 160 million customers, is its strategic focus on integrating and implementing practices that generate a positive societal impact, uphold ethical governance standards, and contribute to environmental stewardship.

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Erik Aas, CEO of Banglalink, remarked, Erik Aas, CEO of Banglalink, remarked, “The ‘AA’ rating of VEON has not only underscored Banglalink’s dedication to the ‘4G for all’ initiative but has also been a transformative force in enabling community access to innovative digital services. Our digital operator strategy and ESG agenda have had a positive impact on both social and environmental fronts, with a keen focus on fostering an inclusive workplace, driving initiatives for diversity and inclusion, and championing environmental sustainability.”

This achievement places VEON in the esteemed ‘Leaders’ category among 131 telecommunication services companies globally, underscoring its unwavering commitment to sustainable and ethical business practices.

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ITU’s AI for Good Global Summit 2024 puts tech to the test for people and planet

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​​​​​​​​Global leaders and innovators in artificial intelligence (AI) will join the humanitarian community at the AI for Good Global Summit 2024 in Geneva, Switzerland on 30-31 May to explore how new technology can drive sustainable development. 

This year’s edition of the AI for Good summit event will showcase innovations in generative AI, robotics,​ and brain-machine interfaces that can accelerate progress in areas such as climate action, accessibility, health, and disaster response. 

Summit speakers, including some of the world’s foremost AI luminaries, will explore the latest breakthroughs in AI and examine actions to ensure that AI works to humanity’s benefit. 

“ITU’s annual AI for Good Global Summit brings together a diverse set of voices to look at the latest AI developments and find ways to ensure this technology remains a force for good, driving inclusive growth and sustainable and equitable progress for all,” said ITU Secretary-General Doreen Bogdan-Martin. “This summit and our year-round AI for Good platform are powerful tools for accelerating progress in our race to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.”

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​On 29 May, discussions dedicated to AI governance will explore the surge in global efforts to craft AI policy, regulation, and governance frameworks. AI Governance Day – bringing together representatives of governments, companies, academia, civil society, and UN agencies – aims to forge pathways to transform dialogue around AI governance into impactful action.

​The UN platform for AI powered by ITU

AI for Good identifies practical applications of AI to accelerate progress toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals and connects AI innovators with public and private-sector decision-makers to help scale up AI solutions globally.

ITU, the UN specialized agency for information and communication technologies, organizes the yearly AI for Good Global Summit together with 40 partner UN agencies. The event is co-convened by the Government of Switzerland.  

AI for Good discussions foster international cooperation and innovation to create equitable access to new technologies. The discussions support ITU in spurring timely policy exchanges, developing best practices and technical standards, and catalysing partnerships for AI solutions to contribute to sustainable development. 

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Thought leaders and thought-controlled machines 

In addition to talks by AI thought leaders, this year’s summit will host machine learning masterclasses, curated by experts for experts, covering topics from deepfakes and climate change to brain-machine interfaces, AI for public services, explainable AI, and machine learning in communication networks.

Start-ups, young people and creatives will demonstrate their ideas at the AI for Good Innovation Factory Grand FinaleRobotics for Good Youth Challenge, and Canvas of the Future art contest

The summit’s exhibition space will feature an array of cutting-edge demos, including AI for accessibility, collective drone swarms, bio-inspired rescue robots, a RoboCup robot football tournament, performance-boosting exoskeletons, and AI-inspired art.

Exhibition highlights will include demos of brain-machine interfaces – an AI advancement that promises to open new frontiers for neurotechnology. A press conference on brain-machine interfaces will highlight new technologies enabling mind-controlled movement and communication for persons with disabilities, offering insights on how progress in the field could impact the future of human performance, mental health, and wellbeing. 

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The 2024 edition of the summit comes in conjunction with the WSIS+20 Forum High-Level Event. The World Summit on Information Society event brings together the world’s digital development community to discuss concrete actions to advance sustainable development. 

The AI for Good Global Summit will take place at the International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG)

Registration for media accreditation for reporters wishing to cover the AI for Good Global Summit is open. Registration for the public​ is also open and is free of charge. Registrants can attend either in person or online to connect with an expected 2,500 participants in Geneva and over 25,000 professionals worldwide who are part of the AI for Good Neural Network. Capacity is limited and early registration is encouraged.  Confirmed speakers include:   ​

  • Doreen Bogdan-Martin – ITU Secretary-General
  • Geoffrey Hinton – Advisor for the Learning in Machines & Brains, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (presenting remotely)
  • Sam Altman – CEO, OpenAI (presenting remotely)
  • HRH Princess Beatrice – United Kingdom
  • Abeba Birhane – Senior Fellow in Trustworthy AI, Mozilla Foundation, Time 100 AI 
  • Stuart Russell – Professor of Computer Science at University of California, Berkeley, and author of “Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control”
  • Daron Acemoglu – Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and New York Times bestselling author of “Why Nations Fail: Power, Prosperity, and Poverty”
  • Gary Marcus – Scientist, best-selling author, and serial entrepreneur, New York University
  • Nicholas Thompson – CEO, The Atlantic
  • Fatmah Baothman – CEO, Alothaim Investment AI and R&D Company
  • Vincent Vanhoucke – Senior Director of Robotics, Google DeepMind 
  • Mo Gawdat – Former Chief Business Officer at Google X, and best-selling author of “Scary Smart” and “Solve for Happy”

See all of the AI for Good Global Summit 2024 speakers here.  ​Demos of robots, drones, and brain-machine interfaces include: 

The AI for Good Global Summit 2024 is supported by Immersion4 (Diamond sponsor), DLA Piper (Diamond sponsor), AWS (Gold sponsor), Alibaba DAMO Academy (Gold sponsor), ZTE (Gold sponsor), and KUKA (Networking sponsor). 

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