Enhanced technology skills can ensure global peace and stability says Aziz Ahmad at a discussion in UNHQ



News Desk, Barta24.com
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"We need to embrace all technology advancements with a clear understanding on digital good and digital bad and address the digital divide by reducing gaps in the society at large."

Aziz Ahmad, a renowned technology innovator, entrepreneur, and speaker said on Thursday at a seminar on "Data Collection and Distribution Process as Enablers for the Exercise of Human Rights" held at United Nations Headquarters in New York oroganized by the UN University for Peace as a side event in observance of World Press Freedom Day 2023.

Peace and prosperity can be ensured by enhancing the technology skills among the youths so that they can become the resources instead of becoming the burden of the society, Mr Ahmad underscored.

The Bangladeshi- American technology investor, Chairman of CodersTrust and CEO of UTC Associates, Aziz Ahmad joined the discussion with Jayashri Wyatt, Chief of the Education Outreach Section, Outreach Division, Department of Global Communications, United Nations, Amy Larsen, Director, Strategy and Management at Democracy Forward, Microsoft, Dr. Chris Wiggins, Chief Data Scientist, NY Times and Professor at the Data Science Institute, Columbia University and Dr. Mona Sloane, Senior Research Scientist & Associate Professor, NYU Center for Responsible AI as the panelists.

Renowned UN diplomat and communication expert Ramu Damodaran moderated the seminar while Juan Carlos Sainz Borgo, Vice President of University for Peace was in the chair.

Spread of hate speech, privacy violation in the name of technology advancement are happening, the speakers exphasized their concerns.

"I think we should embrace the technology innovation over innovation but need to ensure a balance in terms of freedom of speech and access to information and see how we can come up with the policy to address the bad elements and bad actors like hackers, even the country sponsored hackers, in the arena of digital technology," Aziz Ahmad said in his discussion.

In the wake of severe underemployment, unemployment across the Globe, Mr Ahmad founded CodersTrust to provide relevant skill sets amongst the the youths so that they can earn from the Global market from anywhere they live, he informed the seminar.

The seminar lauded Aziz Ahmad for the incredible work of his organization, CodersTrust.

Mr. Ahmad shared his experience as a Lead Architect of AT&T once for its 21st Century Network and said some of those technologies still remain while some are now gone from the face of the earth. Sixty five percent of today's elementary school goers, their skill sets, their jobs don't exist now. Forty five percent of our workforce today need to be re-skilled and up-skilled to stay relevant as a workforce. How we address that as a compliance we need to know and that will bring the peace and prosperity, Aziz Ahmad underscored.

AI and automation are diversifying quickly, but billions of people still do not have the access, they are not generating any data, so how to make the approaches more inclusive embracing digital good and avoiding digital bad is a challange, he added.

Hate speech or propaganda we can not limit but we can think about some kind of regulation over it by being careful about freedom of speech keeping digital good in consideration, said Aziz Ahmad.

A very loose framework can be initiated where we can balance our innovations with ethics and compliance bringing rich and poor, men and women and different genders, our conscious, sub conscious thoughts to mitigate the challenges of uncertain future, Mr Ahmad suggested.

10 lakh youth to be groomed for IT sector: Palak



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com, Cox’s Bazar
Junaid Ahmed Palak/Photo: Barta24.com

Junaid Ahmed Palak/Photo: Barta24.com

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State Minister for Information and Communication Technology Junaid Ahmed Palak said that the Herpower project has been undertaken to empower women and ensure employment in the field of technology where 25 thousand women entrepreneurs will be created across the country. After 4 months of training and 1 month of internship, each woman is given a laptop.

The State Minister said these things to the reporters after visiting the Sheikh Russell Computer Lab and Herpower Project at Saikat Balika High School in Cox's Bazar town on Thursday (04 July) afternoon.

He said that in the next 5 years, during the current tenure of the government, 10 lakh youth will be trained for the IT sector.

Nilufa Yashmin, sub-project director of Herpower Project, said that 560 women are being trained in 3 stages in 3 upazilas of Cox's Bazar district.

The trainees of this project said that as a result of the training in the Herpower project, there is an opportunity to earn through skills in the IT sector.

Cox's Bazar’s Additional Deputy Commissioner (Education and ICT) Tapati Chakma, Cox's Bazar Sadar Upazila Nirbahi Officer Farzana Rahman and others were present. 

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AI simplifies lifestyle but threats to civilization: Palak



Staff Correspondent, Barta24.com
Pic: Barta24.com

Pic: Barta24.com

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Minister of State for Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Mr. Junaid Ahmed Palak said that artificial intelligence (AI) will make life easier for people but it is a big threat to civilization.

He said that the government is going to enact laws to deal with the challenges of technology, especially the adverse effects of AI. Also, new broadband policies will be formulated by 2024 to define internet speed of 20 Mbps as broadband and make the internet affordable and accessible.

The State Minister said these things in the speech as the chief guest at the function organized by the Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology under the initiative of the Department of Posts and Telecommunications on the occasion of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day 2024 at the Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the capital on Friday (May 17). For the first time in Bangladesh this year, it has been organized with the aim of celebrating the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day with the participants of the public and private sectors of the telecommunication and ICT sector, including the Department of Posts and Telecommunications and the Department of Information Technology.

Post, Telecommunication and Information Technology State Minister highlighted the significance of World Telecommunication and Information Union Day celebration and said that Bangabandhu obtained the membership of ITU in 1973 and included Bangladesh in the world of information and communication technology by establishing Geo satellite Center at Betbuniya despite standing on the ruins of war.

Referring to the World Telecommunication Day on May 17 as a historic day for the national life, the State Minister said, "we would not have had this Bangladesh today if we had not taken the bold and visionary program like the Digital Bangladesh program in 2008 under the plan of the Architect of Digital Bangladesh, Mr. Sajib Wazed." Mr. Palak said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had the foresight to provide Internet connectivity in the country through V-sat, to end the monopoly business of mobile phones by granting licenses to three mobile companies and to bring mobile phones within the reach of common people and to withdraw VAT tax from computers in the financial year 1998-99.

The amazing success of the telecommunication and information technology sector in the past years has made Bangladesh one of the leading countries in the digital world, he said, under the visionary and wise leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the economy of Bangladesh has reached great heights beyond the poverty line. He said, 15 years ago the export income in the IT sector was only 26 million dollars. Currently it stands at 1.9 billion dollars.

Stating that Bangladesh has reached a major milestone in the information technology services (IT) export sector, the State Minister said that 400 establishments in the information technology sector are exporting Bangladesh digital services to 80 countries around the world.

Earlier, the State Minister released commemorative postage stamps on the occasion of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day and distributed prizes among the winners of the essay and debate competitions organized to celebrate the day.

Later, an active network memorandum was signed between mobile operator Robi and Banglalink in the presence of the State Minister.

Post and Telecommunication Division Secretary Abu Hena Morshed Zaman presided over the event, Information and Communication Technology Division Secretary Md. Samsul Arefin, Post and Telecommunication Division Additional Secretary A, K, M, Amirul Islam, Chairman and CEO of Bangladesh Satellite Company Dr. Shahjahan Mahmud and Chairman of BTRC Engineer Md. Mohiuddin Ahmed spoke. 

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The second submarine cable is not being fixed even in a month



Istiaq Hussein, Special Correspondent, Barta24.com, Dhaka
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Bandwidth supply from the second submarine cable (CMUI-5) has completely stopped due to the cut. As a result, the internet problem in the country has not been solved yet. Customers have suffered for a long time due to slow internet.

The problem is not immediately solved because the cable is not repaired. According to the sources of state-owned Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited, the bandwidth supply from the second submarine cable was completely stopped due to the cutting of the SIMUI-5 cable in the sea area of Indonesia last Friday night.

An official of Submarine Cable told Barta24.com on condition of anonymity that permission to enter the Indonesian part of the sea has not yet been received. It can take up to three to four weeks to get permission. After that it may take another 8 to 10 days to repair the cut cable. Altogether, it will not be possible to fully deliver the bandwidth from the second submarine cable even in a month.

But in an alternative way they are trying to normalize internet services across the country. So far they expect to meet 40 percent of the bandwidth demand they have received from the first submarine cable in the next 2 to 3 days.

At present 1600 Gbps bandwidth is provided in the country with SIMUI-5. This supply is completely closed. An alternative to the Internet was not yet possible with SIMUI-4 (the first submarine cable). The submarine cable company is working for this. They say it will take 2 to 3 days. During this period they will be able to operate only 40 percent of the internet demand.

Currently there is a demand of 5,500 bandwidth in the country. Of these, submarine cable companies provide more than 2,500 bandwidths. The remaining demand is met by International Terrestrial Cable (ITC). 

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Guidelines ready, 5G service on cell phones within a year



Ishtiaq Hussein, Special Correspondent, Barta24.com
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Post and Telecommunication Minister of the previous government, Mustafa Jabbar, had pushed for the introduction of 5G services in the country in December 2023.

For this reason, 5G was launched experimentally through Teletalk in December 2021. 6 places including National Parliament, Secretariat came under this facility.

Earlier, in the auction held in March last year, mobile operators bought 190 MHz waves by spending Tk. 10 thousand crore.

There were objections from the operators about launching 5G service at such a fast time. But finally it was not possible to do it before the election because this service cannot be launched without 5G related guidelines.

Currently 3G and 4G services are available in the country. 3G was launched in 2013 and 4G services were launched in 2018. South Korea launched the first 5G service in 2019.

Finally, the 5G guidelines have been finalized almost two years after the wave auction. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) recently finalized it. According to the guidelines, mobile operators have to roll out 5G within the next one year.

From the second year, operators will have to build all kinds of 5G service capabilities. Such as smart city, smart home, intelligent transportation system, smart grid and other new applications have to be launched.

Regulatory body BTRC has launched Unified License. As a result, different licenses for 2G, 3G and 4G, which operators had to obtain, will no longer be required.

The 5G wave auction was held in March 2022. In this, four mobile operators bought a total of 190 MHz waves for Tk. 10 thousand crores. In the wave auction, it was said that they will have to launch 5G services within the next 6 months. But it took two years to prepare the guidelines after the wave auction.

At that time, the mobile operators said that it was not the right time financially for them to launch 5G at that moment. They expressed their concern on various issues including high cost of infrastructure construction, difficult to get customers, non-return of investment money because they were still worried about investment in 4G services.

Those associated with the sector said that we have to change the ecosystem at the beginning of 5G. Towers will require a lot of electricity. To deliver 5G to remote areas, the transmission network should be accessible and active sharing issues should be emphasized. Where the networks are needed, how much the customers will benefit from the 5G service or how the demand will be, these issues need to be seriously considered and prepared.

Those concerned said that while 4G has a minimum speed of 7 Mbps, 5G has a speed of 20 Mbps. It will be used in the industry, not at the individual level.

Meanwhile, experts in the telecommunication sector said that an investment of Tk. 20 to 25 thousand crores will be required to launch 5G. It is difficult for operators to take investment risks as the business sector is not finalized.

But in the meantime, operators do 5G test runs. Even 5G is not yet commercially viable in many countries. According to a report by GSMA, the global association of mobile operators, 5G subscribers will reach 200 crores by 2025.

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