POST TIME: 21 May, 2019 12:33:15 AM
BTRC sets 3 conditions for Netflix cache server

BTRC sets 3 conditions 
for Netflix cache server

The Bangladesh Tele-communication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has decided to allow cache server to Netflix, the world’s largest video streaming site, on three conditions. The decision was taken at the 226th meeting of the commission.

However, Netflix itself did not apply directly to install the server. The application was filed by a third party.

The BTRC has said the cache server will be set at the end of the National Internet Exchange (NIX) and no internet service providers (ISP) will be allowed to install such a cache server.

The commission meeting granted permission to licensed internet exchanges after several international internet gateways (IIG) and local ISPs, including Summit Communications, Aamra Technologies, Link3 Technologies, Amber IT

and Mazeda Network, sought permission to place Netflix cache servers for their customers. Some of these ISPs even have NIX licenses.

Netflix, a US-based video on demand (VOD) service, has more than 200,000 subscribers in Bangladesh, according to estimates by BTRC and a private management consulting firm, PI Strategy.

According to their estimation, if each subscriber paid USD 9 to Netflix each month, then the company would earn USD 1.8 million or Tk. 15 crore per month. The estimation notes that Netflix annually earns more than Tk. 180 crore from Bangladesh alone and these numbers are increasing.

The BTRC has set three conditions for setting up the licence—the first being that only national internet exchange (NIX) operators will be able to install Netflix’s cache servers. The ISPs that want to provide Netflix services to their customers will be able to do so by connecting with the NIX interconnection and no ISP will be allowed to set up a cache server. As per the second condition, Netflix will have to pay VAT and other applicable fees/charges in accordance with the provisions of the existing law of the country to avail the cache server.

The third condition states that Netflix has to take approval for the interconnection and service level agreement (SLA) tariff in accordance with the licencing guideline made by BTRC for providing international content.

According to the BTRC, the streaming platform has almost 150 million subscribers in 190 countries across the globe, except in mainland China (due to local restrictions) as well as in Syria, North Korea, and Crimea (due to US sanctions). Yet, they are also getting widely popular in countries where Netflix is not available through virtual private networks (VPNs) and numerous other ways.

Local experts have also said there was no stopping its widespread use and so BTRC has decided to permit local licensed internet exchanges to place Netflix’s cache servers for its clients so as to improve tge streaming quality as well as not having to purchase costly international bandwidth.

In their latest meeting, BTRC officials discussed the applications from IIGs and ISPs. The commission’s engineering and operations department discussed the detailed pros and cons of placing Netflix’s cache servers in Bangladesh. They also advised placing these servers at NIX operators’ ends rather than at ISP ends. They said there were more than 1,000 ISPs around the country and so moderating them would be very tough.

However, there are only six licensed NIX operators, which would be far more manageable to monitor by BTRC.

The commission meeting also talked about Netflix’s cloud-based services, how viewers need to register, subscribe and pay its monthly fees by international credit cards so that no other party except Netflix gets paid in this process, and also how this is getting popular among audiences around the globe, including Bangladesh.

The company has placed more than 10,000 servers across the world, mostly in the US and Europe, with each of them able to transfer data to their clients’ end at a staggering speed of 10 terabyte per second.

Netflix advertised for a few months through social networking sites in Bangladesh to open their services and free service in the country.

The Independent sent several emails to Netflix for its comments, but failed to elicit a response from the company.