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A comment on the failing international telecom policy of Bangladesh

When I ceased to proffer policy advice to the government of Bangladesh some time back, I predicted that the International Long Distance Telecommunication Services Policy would fail, and that bypass would not be eradicated.  Seeing a report that massive bypass was reemerging after a quiet period following arrests and confiscations, I wrote an oped in the Daily Star urging a reworking of the policy.  Here is an excerpt:

In 2007 when the government-appointed committee formulating the international Long Distance Telecommunication Services (ILTDS) Policy sought my advice, I told them that the larger policy objectives would be best served by liberalising international gateways.

Liberalisation would enhance the competitiveness of Bangladesh’s export industries and create conditions for the efflorescence of the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry, thereby generating white-collar jobs for educated youth. It would eradicate the cancer of black money generated from the bypass business that was corroding the country’s body politic.

I also told them illegal termination could not be controlled without bringing down international termination rates.

The full oped, Tilting at telecom windmills, may be of interest to all, not just Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans, interested in ensuring that international telecommunication contributes to economic development.   The Daily Star allows comments.  There already is one.

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