Always On

DHAKA, Oct 9, 2006 (AFP) – AlwaysOn Network, Inc. of the United States will invest 60 million dollars to provide Internet services to most of Bangladesh within 10 years, a government spokesman said Monday. The company signed an agreement with the information and communication technology ministry on Sunday to establish Internet services in each of the impoverished country’s 64 districts, ministry spokesman Mohammad Azam said.

District towns outside Dhaka have access to the Internet at present but rural areas are unconnected.

“This is the biggest ever investment in Internet services in the country,” said Azam.

“Under the agreement the company will invest 60 million dollars to build an Internet infrastructure across the country. In the next 10 years they will cover at least 85 per cent of our population,” he said.

The Dhaka government says only three percent of the 144 million Bangladeshis have access to the Internet — one of the lowest penetration rates of Internet services in the world.

AlwaysOn Chief executive officer Quentin H. Breen said the Portland, Oregon-based company would provide services free to all primary schools in Bangladesh.

It will initially offer Internet services