State-owned national fixed line operator Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL) has expanded its fixed network access line capacity by 7.8% in the two years ending 30 June 2013, but the number of subscribers fell by 8.8% during the same period. The telco’s preliminary data for the end of its financial year, as reported by the Dhaka Tribune, showed capacity has increased by 106,697 connections in two years, while a net 87,195 subscribers have withdrawn from the fixed voice service. In the capital Dhaka the advance figures showed capacity availability had increased to 781,481 connections at end-June 2013, with active connections standing at 536,807 in the city (68.69% capacity utilisation), but the number of active lines had fallen from June 2011’s total of 571,465 for Dhaka (when 78.96% of the metropolitan capacity was utilised). BTCL recently doubled its monthly line charge while also revising call rates and introducing new peak and off-peak tariffs, which according to BTCL officials cited by the Tribune’s article, may have prompt some subscribers to give up their fixed lines. Back in 2010, a spike in landline take-up was caused by a government-backed project offering new connections for no upfront charge.
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