ISPs slam duopoly in giving work order for expansion of broadband

Dhaka,  Mon,  25 September 2017
Published : 23 Aug 2017, 22:08:09

ISPs slam duopoly in giving work order for expansion of broadband

FE Report

The country's internet service providers (ISPs) Wednesday at a press conference alleged irregularities in awarding work order to only two companies for expansion of broadband service at union levels.

They said the duopoly in awarding contracts of broadband supply to only two NTTNs (Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Networks) instead of ISPs, might cause severe blow to the broadband service sector.

This was disclosed at a press conference titled 'Drawing the attention of the Prime Minister: Anomaly in info-government project (third phase), broadband service extension across the country at a stake", held at a city hotel. It was organised by Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB).     

The government-run Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) has started its internet service extension programme to union level under its info-government (third phase) project.

The government has allowed only NTTNs for the work order of supplying broadband to 2,600 unions under 488 upazilas in the country, said the ISPAB.

However, only two companies have got licences for NTTN so far from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). These are Summit Communications Ltd and Fibre@Home Ltd.

Only two companies dropped tenders and shared the works between themselves. Summit Communications got work orders for 1,307 unions and Fibre@Home 1,293 unions, M A Hakim, president of the ISPAB said in his written speech.

He said anomalies were found in tendering process from calling tender to award criteria, reviewing prices and recommendations for permitting work orders. He said the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved the project with steps of 8 tenders. "But violating that, tenders with two packages were called by the BCC," he said.

Calling tender of two packages by the BCC is surely against the government's Rules of Business, he claimed.

He said syndication can be found in the tendering process as both the companies dropped tenders for both tasks and got one each.   

According to the tender, the companies have got work order for 20 years despite the fact that licences of the NTTNs have been given for only 6.5 to 7.5 years.

According to NTTN licencing provisions, the companies cannot make any treaty beyond tenure of their licence, he said.

The NTTNs could only set up telecommunication network, go for maintenance work and rent the networks to access network service (ANS) while ANS could provide it to consumer level. But violating the BTRC rule, the two NTTNs have been preparing to provide internet to 0.2 million government and private organisations, he said. The ISPAB urged the prime minister for a proper investigation into irregularities in the tendering process.
Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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