But this time they are not the numbers given by the ITU. They are the exaggerated claims of the BTRC. The Daily Star questions:
If BTRC’s figures were true, Bangladesh would be among the top 20 countries in the world in terms of number of internet users. Alas, it is nowhere in sight.
Munir Hasan, an ICT expert and secretary general of Open Source Network, estimates the number of internet users in the country to be no more than 1.2 crore, of which mobile users would account for around 85 lakh.
Nazrul Islam Khan, project director of Support to Digital Bangladesh, however, suggests it would not be possible to determine the exact figures on internet usage, but the quotations from mobile operators would give the most approximate picture.
Grameenphone says it has around 60 lakh internet subscribers, Robi 40 lakh, Banglalink 20 lakh, Airtel 10 lakh and Citycell 3 lakh.
LIRNEasia estimates that Bangladesh could have 4.49 Internet users per hundred, based on a new method for estimating Internet users in the absence of demand-side surveys. Of course, the matter is best settled by a survey which is not difficult to conduct in compact Bangladesh.