News From Telecom World

Govt presses ISPs to cut charges

Posted on: October 13, 2008

The government will refrain from further cutting bandwidth fees until internet service providers give assurance of a reduction in subscription charges, a senior government official said Sunday.

Posts and telecommunications secretary Iqbal Mahmood told bdnews24.com that Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited had cut bandwidth fee twice but it did not benefit the internet users.

Internet service providers did not cut charges in proportion with the BSCCL cuts, Iqbal Mahmood said.

He said the government had asked Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to look into the matter.

Mahmood added that any further cut in bandwidth charge would depend on discussions with internet service providers.

Abdus Salam, president of the Internet Service Providers Association, claimed ISPs had in fact lowered charges in proportion with BSCCL cuts.

Salam said they had cut charges for two reasons – stiff competition and government pressure.

“There was no other way out for us,” he said.

There are 170 firms providing internet services across the country.

The ISPA head recommended the BTRC’s annual fees on networking equipment, and the fee for optical fibre in particular, be further reduced.

He also alleged Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited, as well as PSTN and mobile operators also charged too-high prices for use of optical fibre networks outside the capital.

“It will not be possible to provide internet connection at lower prices outside Dhaka if they do not cut their charges.”

“Everybody mentions ISPs. But nobody speaks of mobile phone operators who charge the same for internet connection through submarine cable that it earlier charged for the connection by satellite,” he said.

The ISPA counts some 100,000 active internet subscribers across the country, with Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited serving around 30,000 subscribers.

Mobile phone operators say they serve approximately at least six million internet users.

Source: bdnews24

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