DRASTIC HIKE IN LICENCE FEE, REVENUE SHARING

ISPAB demands revision of BTRC draft decision

HM Murtuza | Published: 22:47, Aug 06,2017

 
 

A file photo shows a man browsing internet on a computer in Dhaka. Internet service providers on Sunday demanded that the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission review its decision that imposed 2 per cent of the ISPs’ revenue sharing with the BTRC and increased their licence and annual fees. — New Age photo

Internet Service Providers on Sunday demanded that the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission should review its decision that imposed 2 per cent of the ISPs’ revenue sharing with the BTRC and increased their licence and annual fees.
They placed the demand at a meeting with the telecom regulator in presence of BTRC chairman Shahjahan Mahmood.
At the meeting, leaders of the Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh and a number of BTRC officials were present.
Leaders of the association said that imposition of 2 per cent revenue sharing with the government including 1 per cent for the social obligation fund would increase cost of business significantly.
For example, an entity having annual Tk 150-crore turnover will have to deposit an additional Tk 3 crore to the government, while there was no such cost earlier, they said.
Besides, increase of licence acquisition fee and annual licence fee by more than 15 times would ultimately hamper government’s vision to increase broadband internet penetration across the country.
In a recently taken move, BTRC has proposed the posts and telecommunication ministry to increase ISP licence acquisition fee drastically.
The proposal, however, was made following an instruction from the telecom ministry.
Asked, Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh general secretary Emdadul Hoque told New Age, ‘at the meeting, we requested the BTRC chairman to revise its move to increase ISPs licence acquisition fee and impose 2 per cent revenue sharing with the government.’
‘Our profit margin is only 4 per cent - 5 per cent. So how could it be possible for sharing 2 per cent revenue or 50 per cent of our profit with the government,’ he said.
‘We informed the BTRC that the ISPs would not be able to survive if the latest move is implemented,’ Emdadul said.
‘Government’s move to increase licence acquisition fee and annual licence fee would impact the country’s broadband penetration and quality of service at large,’ he said.
‘The regulatory move to increase licence acquisition fee drastically to Tk 25 lakh from Tk 1 lakh would hamper government move to increase internet users,’ the ISPAB general secretary said.
He also said that the BTRC chairman assured us that the regulator would reconsider the issue and asked the ISPAB to submit written proposal in this regard.
BTRC initiated a move to increase the licence acquisition fees of internet service providers drastically following an instruction from the post and telecommunication ministry.
As per the proposal, BTRC would issue three categories of ISP licences— nationwide, urban and rural.
Nationwide service providers will have to pay Tk 25 lakh as licence acquisition fee along with Tk 5 lakh annual licence fee.
The urban service providers will have to pay Tk 15 lakh licence acquisition fee along with Tk 3 lakh annual licence fee.
The licence acquisition fee and annual licence fee for the rural ISPs were proposed at Tk 1 lakh and Tk 25,000 respectively.
Besides, the regulator proposed that all the three types of ISP licencees will have to share revenue with government at 1 per cent rate and payment to the government’s social obligation fund at the rate of 1 per cent would be a must.
The commission also decided to issue registration certificates to cyber cafes instead of issuing licence, while they will have to pay Tk 25,000 as registration fee. 

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