30 thousand feet up in the sky. The plane soars higher and higher. Inside, on the way to a major international computer conference, two prominent visionaries discuss the future of the IT (Information Technology) industry in Bangladesh. They see the undeniable need to connect Bangladesh to the rapidly-growing global Internet community.
Who are these two gentlemen? One is Dr. Yunus. His name alone is enough both as an introduction to who he is and what his contributions are to our country.
The other is Mr. Ghulam Mohiuddin. Although very well – known in his industry, a brief background (for him) is in order. A gold medalist from an engineering college (in Karachi), he holds two graduate degrees from MIT, where he later worked as a distinguished scientist for five years before returning to Bangladesh to set up CITech Company Ltd. (in 1989). CITech is the sole distributor for Apple and Digital computers, and is one of the largest computer firms in the country.
How did that initial discussion at 30-thousand feet give birth to the largest Internet company in Bangladesh?
Mr. Mohiuddin had already applied to the T&T for a VSAT. (VSAT is a small satellite dish used to connect to the rest of the Internet through satellite communication.) It took two years of persistent convincing for T&T’s approval. Once the VSAT was approved for, within a very short time practically hours on one fine May afternoon, a committee was formed with representatives from both the Grameen family of companies and CITech Co Ltd., and a leader was born – Grameen CyberNet.
The initial groundwork for the project began on June 1st, 1996. And by June 28th, the majority of the setup had been completed. The business partners in Singapore (from Digital and SingNet) were awestruck! They were left speechless – amazed at the record time successful completion of such a major undertaking! After some rigorous testing for a couple of weeks, Grameen CyberNet went public from July 15th, 1996.
More valuable than the impressive hardware setup, are the people that breathe life into Grameen CyberNet. People who are often referred to as ‘partners’ by the MD, Mr. Mohiuddin. They are an exceptionally energetic and enthusiastic group of young men and women who are committed to making a difference. They are well-trained in their respective fields in Australia, USA, India and some prestigious institutions from our own country. They work hard all day to get things done, stay late to provide customer support, pull all-nighters to prepare for big fairs, and when it’s time to acknowledge their achievements, they have barbecues, become a big family, relax, and fuel up for the next assignments. CyberNet is practically defining standards for a new model of corporate culture in Bangladesh.