March 21, 2010

18 ISPs shut down for VoIP business: Thousands of users suffer

Thousands of Internet users in the country are suffering as BTRC on Saturday shut down 18 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) on the allegation of running voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) business illegally.

Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) suspended licences of the ISPs in its drives over the last two weeks.

The companies are: Accent Corporation Ltd, IP Vision, I-net Information Service, Easy Access, Prodeshta, Global Access, Ridtel, IDS Bangladesh, Net3 Ltd, Dipt Services, S Link, Image Net, 3D Solution, AKRS Network, Neus Network Solution, Multinet Computer and Technology, Techno Online, and Second Link. Office as well as home users could not use Internet service as its connections at different parts of the country were cut off. People remained disconnected from the rest of the world.

Corporate houses and IT related companies complained of losing a huge amount of revenue and inconvenience in correspondences due to the sudden shutdown.

Publication of the newspapers also disrupted as
was no Internet service connection till filing this report late last night. Newspapers had to go back to the old system of "hand service" for collecting news items from home and international sources. Many of Internet users telephoned to The New Nation office till late night to know about the sudden disruption of the service. They reacted angrily saying as to why the government, before issuing licenses to them, did not direct these companies not to run VoIP business.

Due to lack of proper monitoring by the concerned government agencies, hacking as well as harassment of women by using social networking sites increased, the conscious section of the Internet users alleged and suggested that the government should give more attention in this regard.

Meanwhile, President of ISPs Association Akhtaruzzaman Manju claimed that these 18 Internet providers are not members of their association. "We give membership to only those Internet Service Providers who commit not to use VoIP business," he said.

He, however, claimed that it was not true that the countrywide Internet service was collapsed.

Welcoming the recent drives of the BTRC, he said that the voices of the Internet Service Providers should be heard. He said law should take its own course against those who would be found guilty.

"VoIP business should be legalised," he said.

BTRC sources, however, said that the 18 companies are the members of ISPs Association.

Operating VoIP is not illegal, the BTRC sources said, adding but a company has to give revenue to the government exchequer. These companies have been pocketing a huge amount of money evading revenue which caused huge losses to the government.

He said that the BTRC issued licences to ISPs to provide Internet service, not to run VoIP business.


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