More NTTN licences to take affordable Internet to rural areas

Md A Halim
Published : 07:30, Apr 16, 2019 | Updated : 07:30, Apr 16, 2019

Women are seen working at a Union Digital Center. PHOTOA debate is raging if more Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Network or NTTN is needed or not to reduce the price of Internet.

Internet service providers say that to bring down the charge of Internet, two additional NTTN licences are needed; however, NTTN bodies say that licences should be given in such a way that the market is not jeopardized.

The main complaint against NTTN is that only two NTTN bodies are monopolizing the market in transporting Internet bandwidth.

Internet service providers have to take service from these two operators; since there is no alternative, the two bodies are demanding arbitrary charges.

Though NTTN operators say that their charges are logical, relevant quarters say that due to low number of NTTN and charges based on whim, the price of Internet is not coming down.

Post, telecommunication and information technology minister, Mustafa Jabbar, says: “If Internet price comes down with more NTTN then the government will look into it.”

We have received a cost modeling from International Telecommunication Union, ITU, and BTRC is making a cost model based on that, added the minister.

Though Bangladesh Telecommunication Company Limited, BTCL and Power Grid Company of Bangladesh took NTTN licence, they are inactive.

On the other hand, Fibre at Home and Summit Communication Limited carry the work for bandwidth across the country.

According to Internet service providers, 16 mediums are used to take bandwidth to the subscriber and simply bringing down bandwidth price won’t bring down price of Internet.

When expenses at all mediums are reduced, Internet price can fall.

Arif al Islam, MD of Summit Communications, say: “We are not taking high charge at all; it’s been done in a rational manner. If ISP operators take more volume then cost will fall; those who take small amount incur high charges.”

It’s found that application for an NTTN licence was made after formation of a company called Songjog Network Limited, comprising 23 leading Internet service providers.

A letter in this regard was also sent to BTRC chairman on Oct 2 last.

Once this company gets NTTN licence, bandwidth will be taken out of Dhaka with new cable.

This will take the Internet at very low cost to root levels.

General secretary of Internet service providers, Imdadul Huq, says: “Once new licences are given, the monopoly will end and there will be a healthy competition in the market.”

Once licences are given, the network can be extended to remote areas of the country.