Regional Workshop Highlights Achievements of the SASEC Information Highway Project
16 December 2016
A Regional Workshop on the SASEC Research and Training Network was held on 15-16 December 2016 in Bangkok, Thailand, to assess the results and achievements of the SASEC Information Highway Project, approved by the Asian Development Bank in December 2007, to make ICT more accessible, affordable, inclusive, sustainable, and useful to remote and rural communities, entrepreneurs, and research and training institutes in SASEC member countries.
- shared achievements of the SASEC Information Highway;
- reviewed project implementation;
- discussed produced knowledge products;
- summarized project benefits to rural communities; and
- proposed ways to facilitate cooperation among the four countries to enable sustainable and continuous implementation of the ICT research and training network.
The SASEC Research and Training Network, a component of the SASEC Information Highway Project, set up high speed internet access to Community e-Centers (CeCs) located in more than 100 villages in remote areas of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal. The CeCs are linked using fiber optic connectivity, accessed through the research and training centers found in the 4 participating SASEC countries.
Through this ICT initiative, people from rural villages were given access to distance learning opportunities, telemedicine, electronic mail, social networking, and e-commerce.
With a special focus on rural communities, the ADB-supported SASEC Information Highway Project increased the supply of affordable broadband, skilled ICT manpower, and accessible e-applications and e-learning modules to beneficiaries in remote communities in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal.
Twenty-five participants from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal participated in the Workshop. Delegations were led by Mr. Susanta Kumar Saha, Additional Secretary, ICT, Ministry of ICT, Bangladesh; Mr. Jigme Thinley Namgyal, Director, ICT, Department of IT and Telecom, Ministry of Information and Communications, Bhutan; Mr. Indrajeet Khanna, Deputy Director General (IR), Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, India; Mr. Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya, Secretary, Ministry of Information and Communications, Nepal. Mr. Yoshinobu Tatewaki, Unit Head, Portfolio Management, ADB Bangladesh Resident Mission, and Mr. Md. Nazrul Islam, Senior Project Officer, ADB, represented ADB.