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18 July, 2019 05:02:18 AM
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GP, Robi get back bandwidth

BTRC likely to appoint administrator to realise audit claims
STAFF REPORTER, DHAKA
GP, Robi get back bandwidth

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) yesterday has lifted the partial block on the bandwidth capacity of Grameenphone and Robi, which was blocked over unpaid audit claims of the operators.

“We have decided to restore bandwidth capacity of GP and Robi, considering the sufferings of the users,” BTRC Chairman Md Jahurul Haque said at a press briefing at BTRC office in the capital.

After the announcement of Jahurul, the commission yesterday issued two separate letters to the International Internet Gateways asking them to release the bandwidth of GP and Robi.

The commission made the decision following an instruction from the prime minister’s ICT affairs adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy at a meeting at the telecom ministry.

Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister’s ICT Affairs Adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy held a meeting with the telecom division and its other wings, including the BTRC and instructed them to rethink its decision on bandwidth capping as it affects the customers.

BTRC on July 4 reduced internet bandwidth capacity of GP by 30 per cent over Tk 12,579.95 crore unpaid audit claim and Robi by 15 per cent over Tk 867 crore audit claims.

At the briefing, the BTRC chairman, however, said that the commission would stop issuing NOCs [no objection certificate] to GP and Robi soon as part of the regulator’s move to recover the audit claim.

“The ICT affairs adviser to the PM instructed us to take measures to realise the unpaid audit claims from the operator as per the Telecom Act,” he said, adding that the commission would continue to build pressure on the operators to realise the audit claim.

“We might take tougher measures like appointment of administrator to the mobile phone operators if they refrain from paying the government money,” he said.

Speaking about the operator’s demand for settling the audit claims under arbitration, the BTRC chairman reiterated that there was no such scope in the telecom law.

Even the commission has no jurisdiction to deducing the government demand, Jahurul said.

Asked about the VAT dispute between BTRC with the operators, he said that the issue has already been settled as the National Board of Revenue would register BTRC for VAT collection in a week.

Before the issuance of VAT registration to BTRC, the operators would pay dues without VAT to the commission, said Jahurul, adding that the operators have agreed to clear the VAT amount once the BTRC gets the registration.

In reply to another question on the progress of imposing condition on GP under the significant market power regulations, he said that it would also be implemented gradually.

Once the telecom regulator stops the issuance of NOCs, Grameenphone and Robi will not be able to import telecom equipment and instruments, and install base transceiver stations, said BTRC Managing Director (Spectrum) AKM Shahiduzzaman.

They will also not be able to offer new packages, he said.

Terming the audit claims disputed, both the mobile phone operators were urging BTRC to settle the issue through arbitrations.

However, the BTRC says there is no scope of any arbitration as per the existing law over realising dues from them.

Stopping the issuance of no objection certificate (NOC) as a replacement for the reduction of bandwidth will only increase the sufferings for the customers, said Shahed Alam, chief corporate and regulatory officer, Robi Axiata Ltd.

EA

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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