Cybersecurity addressed in new telecom policy | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 19, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 19, 2016

Cybersecurity addressed in new telecom policy

The government has included the issue of cyber security in the National Telecom Policy to counter digital crimes and also amended the policy's chapter on social obligation fund, officials said.

The development comes after the cabinet made the observations in the draft policy it had approved in June.

“We have already addressed the issue of cybersecurity and usage of social obligation fund,” said Tarana Halim, state minister for post and telecom.

The telecom division has sent the amendments to the law ministry for clearance. But the law ministry has forwarded it to the finance ministry as the social obligation fund deals with money and any financial issue has to have approval from the finance ministry.

The government has already collected about Tk 1,000 crore but cannot find a way to spend it.

“We may place it to the cabinet once again. Definitely we will move it as fast as we can,” she said, adding that by January the industry will get a new policy that can guide the digitisation process.

The new policy will replace the existing one that was formulated in 1998 and became outdated for a few years now. Tarana said there is scope for revision of the policy from time to time to keep up with the changing scenario.

The cabinet though has already adopted the policy allowing spectrum and service neutrality -- a pressing demand of the country's mobile phone operators.

The government aims to achieve 100 percent teledensity and 65 percent internet penetration by 2021. Teledensity is the number of telephone connections for every hundred individuals living within an area.

The policy has laid out short-, mid- and long-term goals. The short-term goals are expected to be achieved by 2018, the mid-term ones by 2021 and the long-term ones by 2025.

Under the short-term goals, the telecom division has set a target to achieve 90 percent teledensity from existing 80 percent. Similarly, the division is working to raise internet penetration to 45 percent within two years and 65 percent by 2021, from 27 percent at present.

The government plans to raise the fixed broadband internet usage to 20 percent by 2018 from 7 percent currently, and to 40 percent by 2021. By 2025, the policy aims to raise the usage to 60 percent.

The government also aims to ensure wireless broadband connection at upazila level by 2018. By 2021, it wants to establish 20 percent fibre optic cable connectivity and 50 percent by 2025.

The policy stresses that state-run mobile phone operator Teletalk and landline operator Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd increase their capacities to compete with other players in their markets.

It also says the service providers must comply with the performance standards and the quality of service parameters.

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