12:00 AM, December 27, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 04:20 AM, December 27, 2018

Be ready to implement instructions

BTRC to operators over polls day internet

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has asked the mobile operators and international internet gateways to be ready for immediate implementation of its instructions regarding internet speed and content from December 29 to 31.

The telecom regulator yesterday held two separate meetings with the mobile operators and IIGs at its office, but didn't give any specific directive to them in this regard, said meeting sources.

The BTRC asked the operators and IIGs to keep their offices open from December 29 to 31 round the clock. The 11th parliamentary election is slated for December 30.

According to a BTRC official, who was present at the meeting, the commission may instruct the mobile operators to downgrade internet speed to 2G from 3G or 4G as around 90 percent internet users go online through mobile operators.

Broadband internet service might be outside the purview of the government instructions due to its use in various business purposes, especially in banking activities, the official told The Daily Star requesting anonymity.

The meeting, chaired by BTRC Commissioner Rezual Quader, with the mobile operators was part of the regulator's preparation to implement instructions of the Election Commission. The operators are the main source of internet bandwidth for the country's 9.24 crore internet users.

The EC on Monday had asked the telecom regulator to make preparation for downgrading the internet speed to 2G from December 29-31.

It also directed the BTRC to be prepared for blocking social media, especially Facebook, and also some communication applications, if required.

The BTRC official said they asked the mobile operators and IIGs to promptly implement any instruction from the commission or the National Telecommunication Monitoring Centre.

The mobile operators said they would implement any instruction if it came in black and white.

The IIG operators informed the BTRC that they were capable of implementing instructions on blocking websites within 30 minutes.

After attending the meeting, an IIG owner said they could block any specific website or internet link and bar the use of any communication application. The issues came up for discussion in the meeting.

On December 14, EC Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed said they were considering downgrading the mobile internet speed to 2G from 3G or 4G.

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