A story of BTRC: VSAT Saga

BTRC stands for Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission. This organization controls the telecommunication facilities. Their job is to develop the telecommunication system. In order to do that they undertakes many decisions and policies.  But most of their decisions are wrong. Their latest decision is to stop the us of VSAT technology.

A Very Small Aperture Terminal, generally knows as VSAT, is a two-way satellite ground station and allows to transmit narrowband & broadband data. VSAT is used for accessing remote location with VoIP.  With this technology, people are allowed to talk at a cheaper rate. But Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission have put restriction on the use of VoIP  technology. For this restriction, VoIP has become an illegal technology in our country where in other country is legal.

Why BTRC made this technology illegal? Because they charge a good amount of charge when someone from outside Bangladesh wants to in Bangladesh.  If anyone calls to Bangladesh using VoIP technology then he don’t have to pay the charge applied by BTRC. So his cost for calling becomes lower.  By the way,  as two-way satellite ground station, for the above case, one VSAT has to be in Bangladesh. Due to lower cost, most Bangladeshi labors and other people calls to Bangladesh using VoIP and other mobile or telephone companies uses this technology illegally to call outside.

BTRC believes that if any companies uses this VoIP technology, their revenue will decrease. So they canceled the license of some land phone companies. But they didn’t consider the fact that revenue generation for BTRC by these companies have stopped too. They don’t want to lower their charge because their revenue will go down but they are take such steps that actually decreases their revenue. I think if they lowers their rate from VoIP call or make the VOIP legal then their revenue will increase, will not decrease.

In our country, we have only one submarine cable to connect internet.  And this cable is gets cut off  too often. That time VSATs are only way to connect internet. As most of the ISPs uses VSATs as their back up line for internet. Now as BRTC banning the VSATs, any ISP won’t be able to have back up line. So, when submarine cable will get cut off again or get disconnected, the whole country will be disconnected from other countries of the world. We all know it takes about a week to reconnect the submarine cable. In the mean time businesses that depend on internet will stop their function and will hampered by all mean.

BTRC doesn’t have the ability to set up another submarine cable to back current submarine cable. So they should encourage the use of VSATs. But what they are doing is stopping the use of VSATs in order to stop VoIP.  Both of their decision is wrong. These two wrong decision is going to effect the whole country.BTRC is suppose to develop the telecommunication situation but they are making it worse. And the government is talking about digital Bangladesh but they are putting barriers to technology. How will they make digital Bangladesh without technology? may be they are because nothing is impossible in Bangladesh.

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2 Responses to “A story of BTRC: VSAT Saga”
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1 Sazid Raihan
June 6, 2010 at 1:39 am

It’s an excellent and timely writing Redwan. I’ve something to add up. VOIP is not exactly illegal in Bangladesh, it’s legal. Then why some people use illegal VOIP? Here comes the answer. Tax. The license fee of getting a VOIP license was absurdly high when they were distributed. And after you get the license, you will have to a 60% tax to govt for your regular operation (the highest tax rate for any business in Bangladesh!). Now tell, is it just possible to pay 60% tax? As a business student, I think, it’s not possible. So three companies who run legal VOIP business, cannot lower the bill, and thus the end users cannot get any benefit of it as it doesn’t affect the cost at all.

Now, why is govt not lowering the tax? BTRC says, it is a big field of earning revenue for govt, and they don’t want to lose revenue from here. But those people don’t know any basic maths. They don’t understand the concept that with low tax, they can attract way more customers and that will multiply revenue further and further.

This is the reality, that we are living in a country where some ******* (put any slangs you want) are running the country.

And again, very good writing.
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2 Redwanur Rahman
June 6, 2010 at 6:37 am

I heard you will get license only if you are a local company. They don’t want to give license to foreign companies. 🙁

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