May 19, 2009

BTRC finally paying some attention to ICT, really?!?

Earlier I talked about BTRC or in bigger sense government as a slow mover in policy decision making and implementing new technologies in ICT sector. In my earlier posts I mentioned about delay in 3G license, about WiMAX speed & consumers expectation and monopoly in distributing WiMAX license.

Every time we, the people of Bangladesh, have to wait for a long time to welcome a new technology, while our neighbors are already enjoying it. It happened to submarine cable and it is now happening again. Still the price of internet bandwidth is unreachable to bulk of the people and what consumers are getting is not even Broadband Standard (though ISP’s are advertising so) due to the lack of initiatives taken by the policy maker. The arrival of second submarine cable through private sector is not done because of government policy to delay process. It has rather issued only one private IIG license and the regulator has been forcing the ISPs to purchase international bandwidth from both public & private.
But still we can only hope and the hope is boosted by recent comments from new BTRC chairman Brig Gen (Retd) Zia Ahmed while addressing a press conference at Chittagong Circuit House to brief the two-day programme to mark the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD)-2009. He said the Commission has recommended reducing the existing duty on import of accessories and equipment required for ICT sector. It has also suggested cutting taxes and VAT on uses of ICT related services in the upcoming budget.

“We have already proposed to reduce internet users' VAT from 15 percent to zero percent to increase users and disseminate information and communication technology (ICT) among the mass people, he said.

Zia said they are determined to increase internet connectivity and fiber network in the remote areas of the country since the country will be covered with WiMAX and 3G technologies soon. Replying to a query, he said the formulation of a draft policy on issuing licenses to improvised 3G mobile technology and the process of issuing licenses to community radio operators are at final stage.

"The whole country would come under internet coverage," the BTRC chairman hoped.

So keep your fingers cross or prepare for another Bogus Boo.


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