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Home » Industry News » Details
18 Jun 2012
Confusion over numbers of internet users

A giant cloud of confusion hangs over the actual number of internet users in the country, due to massive disparity between the figures disclosed by the telecom regulator and other weighty institutions.

The number of active internet users in Bangladesh stood at 2.75 crore on December 31, 2011, according to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).

While the figure provided by the UN telecom body, International Telecommunication Union (ITU), suggests 55 lakh, with a penetration rate of 3.5 percent.

That is, a significant difference of 2.25 crore exists in the two bodies' estimations up to December 31.

The number cited by BTRC becomes all the more questionable when referring to 'Internet World Stats', a website that supplies up-to-date internet usage data of over 233 individual countries.

If BTRC's figures were true, Bangladesh would be among the top 20 countries in the world in terms of number of internet users. Alas, it is nowhere in sight.

Munir Hasan, an ICT expert and secretary general of Open Source Network, estimates the number of internet users in the country to be no more than 1.2 crore, of which mobile users would account for around 85 lakh.

Nazrul Islam Khan, project director of Support to Digital Bangladesh, however, suggests it would not be possible to determine the exact figures on internet usage, but the quotations from mobile operators would give the most approximate picture.

Grameenphone says it has around 60 lakh internet subscribers, Robi 40 lakh, Banglalink 20 lakh, Airtel 10 lakh and Citycell 3 lakh.

Although state-owned Teletalk could not be contacted, the figures from the five major operators indicate around 1.5 crore internet subscribers -- still way off the mark from BTRC's digits.



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