Internet service providers and cable operators will shut down their services across the country for three hours from Sunday after a move by Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) to remove hanging cables.
"If our demands are not fulfilled and DSCC doesn't stop removing hanging cables by tomorrow, all internet connectivity and cable television services will be shut for three hours -- from 10:00am to 1:00pm -- every day from October 18," told MA Hakim, president of Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB).
"So far we have not had any discussions with the DSCC. The matter has not been resolved yet," Hakim told The Daily Star this afternoon.
Only telephone connections of hospitals will not be disconnected, he added.
On October 12, Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB) and Cable Operators Association of Bangladesh (COAB), at a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club in Dhaka, gave an ultimatum to resolve the issue by tomorrow (October 17).
People now heavily rely on high-speed internet due to various reasons including online classes and exams, office work, virtual meetings, shopping during the coronavirus pandemic but if the issue is not resolved by tomorrow, people will suffer in this dispute between the DSCC and the two service providers, according to the industry insiders.
They said Dhaka South City Corporation started removing hanging cables from all roads from August to beautify the city without serving any prior notice to internet service providers and cable TV operators. In the last two months, ISPAB and COAB members have faced an estimated loss of Tk 20 crore due to removal of cables.
ISPAB and COAB leaders also said they applaud the decision of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) to remove hanging cables to enhance beauty but it is not a logical to remove these cables worth crores of taka without prior notice.
And due to removal of cables, hundreds and thousands of internet and cable TV subscribers will be deprived of internet and cable TV services. The subscribers include students who have online classes, they added.
Other demands include fixing the prices of internet and cable TV services by the ministry concerned at each level, including homes, offices, and banks; setting the prices of NTTN by the government to provide low-cost internet and cable TV services; and measures to ensure that NTTNs have the capability for uninterrupted service delivery to customers.
They also sought prime minister's intervention to resolve the issue.