Abstract - The Information Society 20(4)

Universal Access in Developing Countries: A Particular Focus on Bangladesh

A.J.M. Shafiul Alam Bhuiyan

The concept of universal access, which originated in the U.S., is now part of the telecommunications policy frameworks of many developing countries. This paper uses the case of Bangladesh as a vehicle for examining the transferability of the universal service concept to developing countries. The analysis suggests that liberalization and privatization of the telecommunications sector policies pushed by WTO, World Bank, and other international agencies, will not by themselves create universal access in countries with rudimentary urban-centric networks. The policy makers need to incorporate build-out obligations when licensing operators and also develop cross-subsidy mechanisms even though they are now out of fashion in the industrialized world.

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