BTRC turns down application of 301 ISPs
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) rejected the license application of 301 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as there was no room for new entrants in an already crowded market for broadband Internet providers.
More than half of these applications are from Dhaka and adjoining areas, according to a notice issued by the country’s telecom regulator.
In a circular issued recently, the BTRC said it cannot provide licenses to these apps as per the new ISP guidelines to avoid oversaturation in a particular area.
Secretary General of Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB), Nazmul Karim Bhuiyan, said there are 2,700 ISPs operating in the country to provide Internet service.
ISPs have made a claim to grant licenses to applicants seeking licenses to provide the services to subscribers from places where Internet services have not yet reached, such as hilly areas and remote islands.
About 2,000 companies are currently listed in the ISPAB database out of about 2,700.
However, a BTRC official said the decision not to provide a license is not permanent.
The BTRC recently canceled licenses of 316 ISPs as the ISPs failed to respond to the queries by the telecom regulator regarding their license conversion.
The commission instructed all international Internet Gateway Operators (IGOs) not to provide bandwidth to these ISPs.
According to the Regulatory and Licensing Guideline for ISP in Bangladesh, the ISPs must renew their licenses every five years and the licensee must obtain an approval of rates before deploying a service.
Late last year, the regulator set the scope of work for its licensees to bring order to the internet service business.
An amendment to the ISP guidelines found that the existing Internet Service Provider (ISP) licensed companies Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Network (NTTN), International Internet Gateway (IIG), International Gateway (IGW), Interconnection Exchange (ICX), Submarine Cable and International Terrestrial Cable (ITC) licences.
But if the ISP licensed companies want to continue their business, they have to choose either ISP or the rest of the licenses.
Under the amendment, licensees willing to continue the ISP business must surrender NTTN, IIG, IGW, ICX, submarine cable and ITC licenses to the BTRC.
If they want to continue the business of NTTN, IIG, IGW, ICX, submarine cable and ITC, they have to hand over the IPS license.
However, this condition did not apply to government institutions under this sector.