Bangladesh sharpens axe to behead the regulator

Posted on April 5, 2010  /  3 Comments

The cabinet has decided to seize the regulatory functions from BTRC and give it back to the telecoms ministry in Bangladesh. Therefore, the politicians and civil servants will again assign licenses and spectrum. Even worse – they will approve the tariff and services. Welcome to the Stone Age.

BTRC was born with a reasonable degree of independence on January 31, 2002. The country’s teledensity, fixed and mobile combined, was the lowest (0.83) in South Asia. It rose to 33 at the end of 2009. BTRC may not be fully credited for such exponential growth. But the ministry remains fully liable for conniving with state-owned monopoly BTTB (Now BTCL) and refusing interconnection to the mobile industry. As a result, Bangladesh had to bear the “mobile-to-mobile only” stigma until 2008.

However, the government needs to amend the telecoms law to behead BTRC. These amendments will require parliamentary approval. But the ruling party lawmakers should not forget the then Awami League government had enacted the telecoms law at its twilight in 2001 and created BTRC. It regained power with overwhelming majority in 2009. And now the very party – that also indoctrinates “Digital Bangladesh” – is writing the death sentence of its own creation behind closed-doors. What a paradox!


  1. I totally Agree with Mr. Abu Saeed Khan for his valuable posting.

    I do not think the Telecom ministry has any basic knowledge on any technical and project management issues !
    They will only value add Misuse of Power , Bribe Taking , Embezzlement & Extortion ,Misuse of Resources and Negligence of Duty .

    Its a Shame for the country.

  2. This paradox is very easy to understand. This is similar to a well renowned math exercise of a monkey and a slippery bamboo that all Bangladeshis have come across in school. A monkey climbs 3 feet of a 72 feet long bamboo in the first minute but drops 2 feet in the second minute. Thus, how long the poor monkey will take to climb the 72 feet bamboo?

    This math problem is too old fashioned. It demands a change in this era of CHANGE. The new problem is:

    It takes 9 years to achieve 34% progress in a project named “Building Digital Bangladesh” but it takes just a few meetings to make 80% progress in a project named “Back to Analog Bangladesh”. Therefore how many centuries it will take to finish the Building Digital Bangladesh project?