While the adoption of the internet has seen a steady incline in Bangladesh over the past couple of years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been revealed that the growth of broadband users has become flat in the last three months. It was reported that in February 2020, there were approximately 57 lakh broadband users in Bangladesh. This number saw a massive boost in December 2020, reaching an astonishing 1 crore. However, from that point, the growth has come to an almost standstill by the beginning of 2022. Now, as of August 2022, the number of broadband users has reached a plateau at 1.11 crore.
Moreover, the number of mobile internet users has also dropped in August 2022, falling to 11.61 crore after losing 3 lakh internet subscribers. Currently, there are a total of 12.72 crore internet users as of August, which fell from 12.75 crore a month before. But the number of unique users is suspected to be much lower than that as there are many people who use the internet on multiple sims. According to the new population census conducted by the Government of Bangladesh, of the total 16.51 crore people living in the country, about 6.5 crore people don’t use the internet.
So, what are the possible reasons for this stagnation? Well, the first issue that can be pointed to is the rising inflation in the country, which has risen to a multi-year high of 9.5 percent. As a result, many people are not financially capable of adopting internet services. Another possible reason is the lack of coverage by ISPs in rural areas.
But all hope is not lost. According to the president of the Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB), there will be two lakh new connections soon thanks to the infrastructure being set up under the ICT Division’s digital connectivity project. This will enable more people of Bangladesh to have access to the internet, no matter where they live.