BTRC cuts GP, Robi bandwidth following audit dispute

9 Jul 2019

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has partially blocked the bandwidth capacity of GrameenPhone (GP) and Robi Axiata due to non-payment of dues totalling BDT125.80 billion (USD1.46 billion) and BDT8.67 billion, respectively, which were detected in audits and are currently disputed by the two operators. The New Age writes that the regulator directed all the international internet gateway (IIG) operators in the country to slash Grameenphone’s bandwidth by 30% and Robi’s by 15%, with the watchdog stating that the bandwidth capacity will remain blocked until the duo pays the ‘disputed audit demands’.

GP said in a statement: ‘This instruction disregards our invitation to BTRC for a constructive arbitration process on the audit. The decision to forcefully reduce bandwidth runs counter to supporting customer interests … This instruction seems to be designed to penalise our gateway partners and could have a negative impact on millions of Bangladeshi data users … We are surprised by the instruction and question the legality of this action.’ In a separate statement, Robi chief corporate and regulatory officer Shahed Alam said: ‘We are deeply disturbed by this draconian step from a regulator … We had already raised our concerns regarding the fundamentally flawed audit claims through official correspondence with BTRC.’ For its part, the BTRC said that there was no scope for arbitration under the existing law over its action against the two operators.

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