BTRC trying to raise number of internet users, mobile phone subscribers


Telecom regulator-BTRC is now trying to increase the number of internet users side by side mobile subscribers across the country to reach the benefit of technological development to the people, said BTRC Chief Zia Ahmed.

"Our target is to reach technology at every door step in the country," he said and mentioned that "The commission is working in line with the plan".

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) reduced bandwidth charge several times in the last few years and took initiative to introduce third generation (3G) mobile phone service and WiFi (Wireless Fidelity) which will gear up internet connectivity, he added.

Nearly, 30 million people are using internet, according to the data of BTRC.

Mr Ahmed who has been working as the chairman of the BTRC since February 26, 2009, said this at an exclusive interview with the Financial Express on Tuesday on the eve of 'World Telecommunication Day-2012' to be held today.

The commission is now working on some vital issues like Satellite, 3G, VAS, WiFi and 'quality of service' which will consolidate the country's telecommunication sector.

Talking about regulator and operator relation, he said, "We always want to maintain a good relationship with them as we are not opponents of each other," and added that "The operators must do business, but they should pay a portion of their business profit to government for the country's development.

The commission chairman also said they are always ready for bilateral meetings with the operators to discuss different issues.

When asked about much-talked-about 3G mobile phone service, Mr Ahmed said BTRC has already made a draft guideline for introducing the service, but it is now depending on telecom ministry.

He said they fixed the spectrum charge for 3G service in the light of different countries.

When asked about dispute over tax issue between NBR and BTRC, the telecom regulator chief said "we are both -- NBR (National Board of Revenue) and BTRC -- government revenue collectors, so if they (NBR) have any outstanding dues to the operators they can collect it".

We always want to help the NBR, he added.

This year, the government is observing the telecommunication day with due importance to the women in ICT (Information and Communication Technology) sector. The theme of the day is "Women and Girls in ICT", he said.

The chief of the telecom regulator said there is no gender discrimination in ICT, that's why the women have ample opportunity to play their role in the sector.

He, however, mentioned that women employment in ICT is better than that of private sector. Almost 20 per cent women are working in customer care centres while 70 per cent are employed in call centres, but the percentage is 10 in private sector, he also mentioned.

So far, BTRC issued more than 1000 licences in 28 categories and it will issue licence for another two categories, namely VoIP Service Provider (VSP) and National Internet Exchange (NIX), while the authority has cancelled 195 licences for different reasons.


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