The government has decided to redefine 'broadband' services for the fourth time and fix the minimum broadband speed at 2Mbps. Both decisions will be effective shortly.
The changes came yesterday at a meeting chaired by Sajeeb Wazed Joy, the ICT adviser to the prime minister.
Joy directed the telecom regulator to be more active in ensuring better services for users by upgrading the internet speed and amending its definition. He directed the regulator to induct the new definition into the telecom policy, meeting attendants said.
The plan is to improve broadband speed to 5Mbps, which is necessary to successfully build a Digital Bangladesh, a senior official of the telecom division said on condition of anonymity.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission or BTRC fixed the minimum speed for broadband at 128Kbps in 2008.
The government then upgraded the minimum broadband speed to 512Mbps and later to 1Mbps in 2013.
Joy also asked Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd or BSCCL to bring the bandwidth price down to Tk 200-Tk 300 per Mbps if possible.
BSCCL decided to cut wholesale bandwidth prices to Tk 560 from the current effective price of Tk 920 per Mbps two weeks ago. The reduced price will be effective in August.
“We have been asked to further reduce the bandwidth prices,” Md Monwar Hossain, managing director of BSCCL, told The Daily Star after the meeting.
Expressing dissatisfaction over internet speed and quality, Joy said the government would soon move to provide 1Mbps internet connections at union levels across Bangladesh.
He also advised Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd to expedite the fibre-laying process at union levels to complete it within the current government's tenure.
The market is already saturated for mobile operators in terms of accessibility as there are some 12.6 crore active SIMs, leaving a narrow growth margin for Teletalk, he said.
The state-run mobile operator also needs a proper market survey before launching any new initiative, he added.
“If possible, partnerships with top operators should be looked into,” Joy told Teletalk officials.
Md Faizur Rahman Chowdhury, telecom secretary and chairman of all five state-owned telecom companies, also attended the meeting along with other senior officials of the Prime Minister's Office.