Preparing the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Information Highway Project on Rural ICT & Telecommunications

Jan 15, 2020

Description of Project:

The objective of the technical assistance (TA) is to help South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) countries (Bangladesh, India, Bhutan and Nepal) to prepare an investment project that will (i) establish robust data interchange capacity between all four SASEC members with reduced cost and an increase in reliability and competition; (ii) establish village networks for SASEC regional village communities to enable rural information and communications technology (ICT) development consistent with the Millennium Development Goals; and (iii) establish a regional ICT training and research center to provide a focal point for teaching, research, professional development, and industry and government advice.

Description of actual services provided by your staff within the assignment

 To prepare an investment plan for the regional exchange including in-country gateways and cross-border access links. Review the rural telecommunication policies, regulation, and strategies in each SASEC country and find the policy and regulation measures to improve the accessibility of rural and remote areas through more private sector participation, including market-oriented reform, universal access fund management, licensing policy, subsidy scheme, and spectrum policy. Determine the site of the regional exchange and the in-country gateways in the determined locations in consultation with the authority in each country, and carriers and operators including alternative network providers, ISPs, and telecoms service providers in consideration of (i) potential existing co-location facilities offered by alternative telecom networks such as power transmission networks; (ii) convenience for fiber optic or microwave access to ISPs and telecom companies networks; (iii) structural ability to support a microwave tower; (iv) favorable building environment for housing a fiber distribution frame and digital distribution frame for cross connection; (v) ability for a potential microwave line as primary or redundancy links to each SASEC country; (vi) availability of lockable rack system facilities, layer 2 Ethernet switch, potential domain name server, and uninterrupted power supplies; (vii) appropriate building security and access; and (viii) susceptibility for natural disasters. Identify possible locations for the regional exchange; examine their benefits and costs in comparison with Siliguri, India; and establish the rationale for building the regional exchange in Siliguri. Develop a recommendable model for the ownership and operation of the regional exchange and in-country gateways, and also develop a recommendable business model for the operation of the facilities to be financially self-sustainable.




Information and Communication Technology




Asian Development Bank (ADB)