The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission on Sunday slapped a fine of Tk 30 crore on leading mobile operator Grameenphone for violating telecom rules by providing internet services under its ‘Go Broadband’ brand.
BTRC officials said GP violated its licence condition by providing internet connectivity to 551 branches of state-run Sonali Bank through its own fibre transmission.
A senior BTRC official said the amount of the fine (Tk 30 crore) was estimated by taking account the revenue GP earned through its GO Broadband operation.
‘But the amount is only the GP’s earnings from the service and it doesn’t reflect the gravity of the GP’s misdeed,’ he said.
He, however, said that even there were tremendous ‘internal’ and ‘external’ pressures for cutting the amount.
Officials said GP signed an agreement with Sonali Bank in December 2014 to establish last-mile connectivity for the bank through a fibre optic.
According to the BTRC rules, only the Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Network operators are allowed to provide internet services through own fibre transmission.
Asked about the issue, BTRC chairman Shahjahan Mahmood told New Age on Sunday that as GP violated the rules, the commission had to take action.
‘As per law, we have no other option but to take the action against GP. We will notify the operator soon about it,’ he said.
GP’s external communication head Sayed Talat Kamal said that they would not comment on the matter as they had not received any official communication from the regulator.
‘We can, however, confirm that GO Broadband service has been deployed with the necessary permissions from the relevant authorities and with the required partnership structures,’ he said.
In April 2014, GP launched the GO Broadband service in partnership with ISP operator ADN Telecom Ltd and AGNI Systems Ltd.
The telecom regulator’s move against GO Broadband came following a complaint filed by the Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh to the BTRC in February.
The ISPAB said that GO Broadband was providing fibre optic connections
to some banks and other institutions and it was also taking away their business.
Earlier in 2008, GP was fined Tk 250 crore for its involvement in illegal call termination through voice over internet protocol.
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