LIRNEasia is a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific

ITU shows USF is irrelevant in Bangladesh

ITU said nearly 90 per cent of the world’s population is covered by mobile networks and more than half the rural households have a mobile telephone today. While focusing on Bangladesh, the World Telecommunication/ICT Development Report 2010 further says:

Grameenphone’s EDGE network, launched in 2005, covers 98 per cent of the population, so almost every Bangladeshi has potential access to the Internet. Grameenphone has over 4.5 million EDGE subscribers, making the company the largest Internet service provider in the country.

The above statement in page 23 of the ITU’s report refers to Grameenphone’s February 11, 2009 press release. By now Grameenphone’s competitors also provide almost similar (>95%) coverage. Therefore, connectivity is no longer an issue in Bangladesh. All the country needs is sensible spectrum management and fuctional international gateway licensing regime for nationwide competitive broadband services.

The last thing the country needs is Universal Service Fund, which has been disguised as “Social Obligation Fund” in the proposed amendment of telecoms law. It will make bradband lot more expensive. Lawmakers will approve this suicidal provision in the Budget Session during next month. Someone should draw their attention ASAP.

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