Foreign satellites will have to pay fees | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 11, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, January 11, 2019

Foreign satellites will have to pay fees

Regulator framing rules for firms doing business in Bangladesh

The telecom regulator is set to formulate regulations to establish the country's satellite landing rights with a view to regulating the operations of foreign satellite companies doing business in Bangladesh.

Landing rights are permissions that operators must obtain for their satellites to be used in a particular country.

But in the absence of regulations, foreign satellite companies are providing services to local entities, including television channels, without taking any permission from the regulatory body.

Not only that, the government is also being deprived of revenue from the segment as the foreign companies do not pay anything to the national exchequer, said officials of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).

“We have no clear idea about the satellite business of our country and it needs to be fixed first for Bangabandhu-1 to succeed commercially,” said Md Jahurul Haque, acting chairman of the telecom regulatory body.

Bangladesh successfully sent its own satellite Bangabandhu-1 into the orbit in May. It is already serving some of the local television channels.

Once the guidelines are finalised, foreign companies would require regulatory approval for entering Bangladesh along with payment of fees.

A senior official of Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited (BCSCL) said they are facing huge challenges in getting the satellite landing rights in different countries but satellite companies are facing no challenges in Bangladesh and are not paying any money to the country's coffer.

In a recent meeting, the BTRC has formed an 11-member committee headed by Md Aminul Hassan, commissioner of its spectrum department, with representatives from the telecom and information ministry, Bangladesh Television and BCSCL.

The committee will finalise the fees and charges for the landing rights. It will look into the practices of other countries before formalising them, said a member of the newly formed committee.

Not just for television channels, the country needs satellite service to ensure connectivity in the remotest places and for other digital services, all of which Bangabandhu-1 will be capable of providing, officials said. In March 2013, the telecom regulator had formed a committee in this regard but that never got to work and its convener later died.

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