I did not have the opportunity to study the draft NTP during its brief airing, so I will not comment on the document itself or on my colleague Abu Saeed Khan’s comments. But if it does not void the counter-productive Internation Long Distance Telecom Services policy, it cannot deliver.
Once approved, the revised policy will supersede the one of 1998. Yet the International Long Distance Telecom Service (ILDTS) Policy of 2010 remains applicable. This controversial policy was enacted by the unelected and unaccountable government during 2007-08. It was done not to serve the consumers but, officially, to make the government rich. As a result, the government keeps dictating the termination rate of inbound overseas calls. It incentivizes the illegal overseas phone calls to, and from, Bangladesh.
The ILDTS Policy of 2010 has merely legitimised the older version’s notoriety. Recently the regulator has created a cartel, named International Gateway Operators Forum or IOF, to manipulate the overseas call market. Such “government intervention” contradicts all the guiding principles of the draft policy. That is why the revised policy must void the ILDTS Policy of 2010 to be truthful to its objectives.