59 unlicensed IPTV channels shut down
Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission closed down 59 internet protocol television (IPTV) channels yesterday for not possessing valid licences to operate.
The telecommunications regulatory body announced this in a statement circulated yesterday.
"BTRC only allows licensed internet service providers (ISP) to operate internet protocol-based data services, like streaming services, IPTV and video-on-demand," said the statement.
BTRC said only those ISP operators licensed to provide IPTV services can be allowed to broadcast television channels, which are themselves licensed by the information ministry.
However, each of the channels, programmes or content must also have obtained the necessary licence, authorisation or clearance from the authorities concerned, said the statement.
"It has been observed that in recent times certain unscrupulous businesses have been operating IPTVs illegally by buying domains or through Facebook and YouTube," BTRC claimed.
"It is absolutely illegal to operate any IPTV without a licence," it said, "and so BTRC is closing 59 such channels."
Sources in BTRC circulated a list of the IPTVs which include certain television channels operated from abroad.
These include US-based Time Television, Total Cable, Radiant IPTV, Millenium TV and Biswa Bangla 24; Canada-based DesheBideshe, NRB TV, Jhankar TV and Azan.tv; UK-based channels like Iqra Bangla TV, iOn TV UK and TV One UK; Singapore-based Joy TV; and Australia-based JonmoBhumi TV.
The rest of the channels listed are located in Bangladesh.
Information Minister Hasan Mahmud said last Tuesday that the ministry has already started many activities including providing registrations to IPTV services to bring discipline.
The Deputy Secretary (TV-2) of the information ministry Ruzia Sultana said right now around 600 applications for IPTVs are pending with the ministry.
None of the IPTVs have been given licenses to operate yet.
"We have no knowledge of the decision by BTRC," said Sultana.