A little bit of history, about people waiting for 27 years to get a phone before liberalization and what leased lines cost in the bad old days before SEA-ME-WE 4, was recounted. But most of the attention was on the future, on how Bangladesh could give its people the benefits of broadband through good regulation. One speaker said that the root of all evil was illegal call termination. Knowing what I know about the Bangladesh industry, I could agree. The entire convoluted structure of Bangladesh telecom regulation is anchored on safeguarding the massive revenue thought to be generated for the government from incoming and outgoing international calls. Little is it recognized that this creates incentives for illegal termination which deprives the government and call terminating access network operators of legitimate revenue. It also hastens the migration to Skype.
Many ideas worth consideration by policy makers (represented on the panel by Secretary MOPT S.K. Bose) and regulators (represented by BTRC Chair Ahmed, who also chaired the session) were presented from the panel of speakers as well as the audience.
The slideset that I planned to use is here. Didn’t get through all of it because I kept to the allotted 15 mts.