The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has cancelled the licences of 48 ISPs (25 national and 23 central zonal) for failure to clear their dues, The Daily Star writes. Following the revocations, a total of 133 national ISPs and 84 central zonal licences are left in the country. A senior official said that within the next few days the BTRC will cancel additional licences in different categories on the same grounds.
In related news, the telecom regulator has suspended the award of any no objection certificates (NOCs) to GrameenPhone (GP) and Robi Axiata to create pressure on the operators to clear 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. Earlier this month the regulator directed all international internet gateway (IIG) operators in the country to slash Grameenphone’s bandwidth by 30% and Robi’s by 15%, though the BTRC lifted the partial block on their bandwidth capacities last week and said issuing NOCs would be blocked instead. Hossain Sadat, acting chief corporate affairs officer of GP, said that GP applied before the commission for an arbitration and 30 days have passed with no result: ‘As per the arbitration law, we will now request the regulator, with the help of a court, to sit for an arbitration in order to resolve the issue.’