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Zonal ISPs have to buy bandwidth from IIG service providers

ISPAB decries BTRC's decree

FE REPORT | April 23, 2022 00:00:00

The country's internet service providers (ISPs) in thana/upazila level must purchase bandwidth from international internet gateway (IIG) service providers from July 1.

According to a recent letter of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), the zonal ISPs also have to pay their remaining dues to the national ISPs by the deadline.

If any ISP fails to purchase bandwidth from the IIGs, it would face regulatory actions, the BTRC letter reads.

However, the ISPs said it is not easy for the zonal ISPs to comply with the BTRC directives.

There are 400 ISPs under this category, and these directives would raise cost of internet in rural areas, said Md Emdadul Hoque, President of the Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB).

He also opined that quality of internet might be compromised following the instructions.

Bandwidth price of the IIGs is high, which is not also available across the country. So the zonal ISPs require spending high amount of money for setting up cables to get connections from the IIGs on long routes.

The ISPAB president added that the IIGs are not under the "one country, one rate" price plan.

The BTRC fixed the maximum tariff for broadband internet connection last year. The telecom regulator also set 11 price slabs for the IIGs and 15 price slabs for the NTTN operators - based on the volume of broadband speed they would be selling to the ISPs.

The ISPs, which receive broadband from the IIGs and the NTTN operators to provide the last mile connectivity, would get broadband at the BTRC-fixed new rates, so that they could provide connections to customers even in the rural areas at the government-fixed rates.

Even after fixing the ceiling for three slabs, the government instructions largely remained unimplemented. The ISPs blamed high charge of the IIGs and the NTTN operators as the reason behind non-compliance of the instructions.

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