286 ISPs to be disconnected
The telecom regulator has recently directed International Internet Gateway (IIG) service providers to disconnect bandwidth connections of 286 internet service providers (ISP) for not converting their licences in accordance with guidelines.
According to the regulatory and licencing guidelines for internet service providers (ISP) of Bangladesh published in December 2020, the existing ISP licensees had to convert their existing licences to four new categories by December 2021.
However, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) in a letter to the IIG service providers, said the 286 had not converted their licences to the new categories.
The telecom regulator also warned that if the IIG service providers provided any new connection to the 286, legal steps would be taken as per the telecom act.
An IIG serves as an internet gateway for routing international incoming and outgoing internet-based data traffic.
The new categories are nationwide ISP licence, divisional ISP licence, district ISP licence and upazila/thana ISP licence.
Md Emdadul Hoque, president of the Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB), said over 40 per cent of the 286 now either do not operate or operate on a very limited scale.
"We have informed all of the members for conversion of licences but they didn't do it," he said.
He said the regulatory action was duly being taken against ignorance and negligence.
"The regulator has given enough time, so we (association) have nothing to say on it," he added.
Moshiur Rahman, chief marketing officer at Fiber@home, an IIG operator, said they have already taken action after receiving a directive from the BTRC.