03:07 AM, December 25, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:59 AM, December 25, 2018

National Polls: Mobile internet may be slowed down for 3 days

The mobile internet may be downgraded on the election day as well as the day before and after it, said officials who attended a meeting at the Election Commission yesterday.

The EC asked Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission to make preparations to downgrade 4G and 3G networks to 2G in those three days, meeting sources said.

Last week, EC Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed confirmed to journalists that they would seriously consider entirely or partly blocking mobile internet services or slash internet speed on the election day, December 30.

At yesterday's meeting, the EC also asked the telecom regulator to prepare to block social media sites, especially Facebook, and some other communication applications. When needed, the EC will issue an instruction and the BTRC will have to comply with it immediately.

The BTRC already took the preparations and formed a team that is staying at office round the clock to take action if any unlawful activity using online platforms is found, said its officials.

The telecom regulator placed at the meeting four options, including complete shutdown of mobile internet services and partial blocking in different parts of the country.

However, the EC emphasised only downgrading network and blocking social media sites, said the officials, requesting anonymity.

Following requests by different law enforcement agencies, the telecom regulator on several occasions had cut mobile internet speed.

The BTRC had kept internet speed down for 24 hours following a recommendation by law enforcers during the demonstrations for road safety in August.

It says as of October this year, the total number of active mobile internet users stands at 8.67 crore.

The telecom regulator has already blocked some websites, leading to problems in using Google services including Gmail, Google Ads, Google Drive and cloud service in the country.

At the meeting, representatives from mobile operator said they will comply with whatever order they will get but that needs to come through the proper channel and follow the proper procedure.

The BTRC mentioned nothing about controlling the broadband service at the meeting.

Meanwhile, the telecom regulator also asked representatives of all the international internet gateways to attend a meeting tomorrow at the BTRC office where they will be given some instructions as per the EC's preferences.

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