Mobile phone users in the Golapbagh field and its adjacent areas have been facing disruptions in mobile and internet network service as the BNP’s Dhaka division rally got underway.
The much-discussed rally, which has led to a storm of political drama, began at 11 am on Saturday.
BNP activists descended in their thousands on the open field after the party received permission to hold the rally there on Friday. Since then, many activists have alleged that they have been experiencing slow internet speeds.
There were similar allegations of disruptions in mobile services during the previous BNP rally in Cumilla on Nov 26.
Party worker Rozina Islam arrived at the venue from Mirpur at 8 am.
“I wanted to go live on Facebook. But the internet speed is really slow. I have a relative in Sayedabad and I was supposed to meet him. But I cannot even call him. I have been unable to connect to a mobile network.”
The government deliberately did this to disrupt communications, Rozina said.
Jubo Dal worker Ashraf said, "My house is next to the field. My mobile conversations kept getting disrupted since this morning. The calls are not coming through. I have been unable to use mobile internet services as well. And since entering the ground, I noticed that mobile and internet network services became completely unusable. All this is being done to ruin the rally.”
Mostafizur Rahman, another BNP worker, said that he has been unable to communicate with other leaders and workers due to the network issue.
“My mobile internet speed is fairly good. But after arriving here I have not been able to connect to the internet.”
Several media workers stationed in the field have also reported disruptions in mobile and internet network services.
"There is almost no internet connectivity in the middle of the ground. I went to the very edge of the field and talked on the phone, but the conversations kept being disrupted. I was having trouble understanding the person at the other end," said one media worker.
An official of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission said that internet speeds might have dropped slightly due to the large gathering. "But we do not know why the internet is slow or the mobile network is not available."
Meanwhile, in an open letter on Friday, 20 international organisations called on the BTRC, AMTOB, and related organisations to ensure uninterrupted internet services across the country.