Indian Broadband Policy and Regulatory Resources


Telecommunication Regulatory Environment results for Bangladesh

Bangladesh 1
Nationwide decline in fixed line usage and the license cancellation of five PSTN operators has contributed to lowest TRE scores for fixed line sector. On the other hand, regulator’s facilitation of competition among the market players, low access price for the users, nationwide coverage and interconnection, usage flexibility, and better QoS are considered to be some of the key reasons that helped mobile industry get the highest scores. Though mobile has the highest score, it’s still below average (i.e. below the mid-point of 3.0). The sense of uncertainty created by the amended Telecommunication Act, 2010 (which handed over many of the major regulatory powers to the Ministry of Post and Telecommunication or MoPT from Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission or BTRC) and the proposed 2G license renewal guidelines are possibly the reasons for the below-average performance.Complete Bangladesh TRE can be access here

  • Anti Competitive Practices


Anti competitive practices received one of the lowest scores in the Broadband sector for Bangladesh.

The somewhat unexpected license cancellation of five PSTN operators on the ground of illegal VoIP activities raised the question of discriminatory behavior from the regulatory body itself, as the leading mobile service providers got hefty fines for the same offence but their licenses were not revoked.

In addition, broadband service providers are not allowed to directly deal with the competitive international carriers, as that responsibility is now with the IIGs under the ILDTS policy. According to the industry experts, this provision is to some extent stalling efficient negotiation with the international entities, which could be converted into cheaper broadband services.

  • Interconnection


The TRE Interconnection score for the Broadband sector was 3 (highest score for the sector). This comparatively high score may have been due to the presence of peer-shared national internet exchange (NIX) which meant higher internal traffic at a lower cost than before. In this case, the fixed ISPs negotiate bilaterally for interconnection related charges and revenue sharing.

  • Market Entry


In broadband, the reason for the Market Entry score not reaching 3 may be due to Internet Service Providers’ restriction (by GoB) against entering the new wireless broadband (WiMax) market. In addition, many experts think that the two operators who got the license for this newly introduced service through a bidding system paid extensively for the assigned spectrum, which resulted in a relatively slow roll out of the WiMax services.

  • Quality of Service


The QoS scenario is most alarming in the broadband sector (rightly reflected by the lowest score of 2.1). According to different user groups contacted for this research, the quality of broadband has found to be quite poor across the country in general. This combined with the high (unregulated) prices, mean that consumers are possibly giving very low scores. The small broadband providers usually buy/lease/sub-lease a small amount of bandwidth and tend to serve beyond capacity (i.e. sign up too many customers). Due to such practices, there is a considerable dissatisfaction about the broadband service as a whole. In addition, because of the nationwide power shortage, even the key broadband service providers are unable to maintain uninterrupted and high speed internet connections for their users.  Moreover, the low quality overhead cable, vulnerable to the adverse weather and frequent disconnections, pose major hindrances towards ensuring good QoS for broadband. BTRC however stepped up its initiatives to cut the overhead cables from major metropolitans and is requiring all the internet service providers to use underground Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Network (NTTN) infrastructure. It will take some time to have considerable impact from this transition.

  • Scarce Resources


For broadband, the score of Access to Scarce Resources is quite low, even after BTRC drastically reduced the monthly price of rental bandwidth of leased access through submarine cable. The present maximum rental rate is BDT 12,000 (approximately US$ 172) per Mbps per month for domestic access from any IIG. The relative high cost incurred by the service providers for rolling out and the transition phase of moving the overhead cables to underground infrastructure of Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Network (NTTN) providers may result in below average score for broadband.

  • Tariff Regulation


Broadband received the lowest score for tariff regulation out of the three sectors of fixed line, mobile and broadband in Bangladesh. This may be because of the absence of any active intervention to regulate the broadband tariff. Many community-based “broadband” entrepreneurs offer packages at very low price, but cannot maintain the minimum level of service. People have also complained about not getting the desired broadband speed even after paying the premium. All these may have reflected on the sector specific perception score.

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