The number of active internet connections in Bangladesh is about to reach a landmark of 10 crore following a surge by 7.8 lakh in February, according to statistics published by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) yesterday.
By the end of February, the total number of active connections was 9.99 crore, meaning that 60 per cent of the country's population had access to the internet by then.
In the last six months, the internet service industry has seen ups and downs every other month. If this were not the case, the 10-crore landmark would have been achieved possibly even a few months ago, according to reports from the telecom regulator.
A very few countries in the world can reach the 10-crore mark and so, Bangladesh is on the verge of making history, said industry insiders.
By this time, it is expected for Bangladesh to have already surpassed the target. If so, it will be revealed in next month's report, they added.
The total number of active internet connections in the country reached 9 crore back in August 2018 while it stood at 8 crore in November just the year before.
Bangladesh hit 7 crore users in April 2017 while in March 2016, the number had been just 6 crore.
Of the total number of active users, mobile service providers control the lion's share with 94.25 per cent or 9.42 crore users.
The number of active connections through broadband operators currently stands at 57.43 lakh but has been growing slowly.
Meanwhile, Wi-Max operators are trudging on with their 5,000 active internet connections, read the BTRC report.
The growth rate of Bangladesh's telecom industry slowed down after the two top mobile service providers -- Grameenphone and Robi -- began to face challenges over an audit claim by the regulator.
Following individual audits, more than Tk 13,000 crore was found to be owed to the BTRC by the two operators.
A drawn-out legal battle ensued as the telecom regulator began to impose restrictions on the two companies.
With the restrictions in place, the industry suffered heavily. However, after both Grameenphone and Robi paid a partial amount of their respective dues, the sector began to recover.
Although February witnessed a 4.99 lakh jump in the number of mobile connections in the country, market leader Grameenphone saw a 6.09 lakh decrease in their total users during the period.