GP declines to pay Tk 30cr in fine as BTRC deadline ends

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:14, Nov 16,2016

 
 

A file photo shows a man coming out from the Grameenphone headquarters in Dhaka. The mobile company declined paying Tk 30 crore in fine imposed by the telecom regulator for operating ‘illegal’ Go Broadband service as the BTRC deadline expired on Wednesday. — New Age photo

Leading mobile company Grameenphone declined paying Tk 30 crore in fine imposed by the telecom regulator for operating ‘illegal’ Go Broadband service as the BTRC deadline expired on Wednesday.
GP in a letter to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission on the day said that it had not violated any law in giving Go Broadband services to Sonali Bank.
On November 6, BTRC asked GP to pay in 10 days Tk 30 crore for the ‘illegal broadband service’.
BTRC also fined two ISP operators, ADN Telecom Ltd and AGNI Systems Ltd, partners of GP in GO Broadband, Tk 5 lakh each.
Officials said that ADN and ASL also failed to pay by Wednesday, the last day for payment.
‘We have asked GP to pay the fine, not to explain why we should reconsider our decision. Even after that, if GP thinks there is scope for discussion it should have contacted us earlier, not on the last day for payment,’ a senior BTRC official told New Age on Wednesday.
He said that as per the rule GP will have to pay 15 per cent late fees on top of the fine for missing the deadline.
The BTRC letter sent to GP on November 6, said that the mobile operator signed an agreement with Sonali Bank on the basis of an approval provided to ADN Telecom Ltd and AGNI Systems Ltd.
But the approval to ADN Telecom and ASL was annulled before the execution of the agreement between GP and Sonali Bank, said the BTRC letter.
It also said mobile operators are allowed to build optical/wired backbone transmission network only if the nationwide telecommunication transmission network operators don’t have that infrastructure.
GP built optical/wired backbone transmission network while providing services to Sonali Bank and violated the infrastructure sharing guidelines, said the letter.
GP in its Wednesday’s letter said that BTRC on December 2012 provided a provisional approval to ADN and ASL that allowed GP to provide coordinated service of GO Broadband.
After that BTRC, following ADN and ASL requests, twice approved the tariff of the said service.
Later on 3 March 2014, ADN and ASL requested for tariff continuation but BTRC never replied to that.
GP signed an agreement with Sonali Bank in December 2014 to provide internet services to 551 branches of the state-run bank.
But ADN and ASl were the service providers and GP was acting as a sales lead, said the letter.
GP also said that the company did not violate the NTTN guidelines.
Referring to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulation Act 2001, the operator denied any wrongdoing and said that the Tk 30 crore fine imposed on GP should be recalled and vacated.
GP in a statement told New Age, ‘Considering the issues mentioned in the notice issued by BTRC and assessing the fact and relevant laws, GP has exercised its statutory right and filed a discharge petition to BTRC declining the allegations.’
‘After getting all the approvals from BTRC; ADN, Agni and GP started to provide “GO Broadband” service and GP has executed the contract with Sonali Bank Ltd. following the BTRC approved Business Alliance Agreement,’ it said.
Transmission capacity required for GO Broadband has been arranged abiding the provisions of law, said the operator.

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