BTRC chief calls for autonomous commission to remove sluggishness

BTRC Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood has called for turning the commission into an autonomous entity, blaming the telecom ministry red tape for sluggishness in the functioning of the regulators.

Published : 29 Nov 2017, 08:21 PM
Updated : 29 Nov 2017, 08:27 PM

He floated the idea at a meeting with the newly formed committee of the Telecom Reporters' Network Bangladesh at his office on Wednesday.

Shahjahan cited delay in getting permission from the Post and Telecommunications Division as the reason behind the lethargy in the commission.

Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission or BTRC works under the division now.

The BTRC and the telecoms ministry have been at odds over a series of issues like awarding licences to companies since the government amended the telecom law in 2010, transferring BTRC’s powers to the ministry.

Shahjahan said a commission’s independence was an ‘important issue’. The government forms commissions for some sectors so that those can run smoothly, he said.

“But (the BTRC) lost pace after some powers were transferred to the ministry in 2010,” he said.

He alleged it was taking three to four months to take a decision which would be finalised in only 15 days before that.

“I have example of such incident in which the decision did not arrive even after a year,” he said.

He said these were happening because the commission was not independent.

The BTRC chairman also said discussions on turning the commission into an autonomous body again was under way.

“Let’s see where the discussions lead to,” he added.

Shahjahan also spoke about how the consumers were losing out due to the lack of pace in the commission’s work.

For example, he said, licencing of the internet service providers or ISPs has been stuck in bureaucratic red tape for around two years.

“The state is suffering the damage because of this delay. The ISP sector is not expanding,” the BTRC chief added.

“The sector will expand the moment we get the government’s decision. ISP is the first step towards building a Digital Bangladesh. We won’t be able to provide the services under Digital Bangladesh scheme to the people unless the number of internet users increases,” he added.   

TRNB President Rashed Mehedi and General Secretary Shamim Ahmad also spoke at the meeting.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher