BTRC rejects telecom surveillance unit’s plea for NTTN licence

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Oct 17,2018 | Updated: 22:58, Oct 16,2018

 
 

Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has turned down a request of National Telecommunication Monitoring Centre (NTMC), the telecom surveillance unit of the government, to get nationwide telecommunication transmission network licence.
BTRC took the decision to reject NTMC’s application at a recent commission meeting presided over by acting chairman of BTRC Md Jahurul Haque.
The commission, however, decided to support NTMC in ensuring smooth connectivity of the unit’s system with all the telecom service providers.
The NTMC provides lawful interception service to law enforcing and detective agencies for preventing misuse of advanced information technology by criminals, and collecting, analysing, identifying and evaluating information related with such activities.
The unit provides the services to ensure stability and security of the country, said BTRC officials.
Under the NTTN licence, operators mainly build telecommunication transmission network laying cables to facilitate telecommunication service providers to reach the end users.
The telecom regulation found that the application of NTMC for NTTN licence was not consistent with the scope of work and objective of the NTTN licensing guidelines, an official of the commission told New Age on Tuesday.
The objective of the Regulatory and Licensing Guidelines for Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Network License said, ‘The guidelines are intended to provide an overview of the licensing and regulatory framework for applicant seeking to obtain licence under these guidelines to develop, build, maintain and operate NTTN in Bangladesh.’
‘Considering the objective of the guidelines, the telecom regulator has no scope to consider the application of NTMC,’ the BTRC official said.
NTMC in a letter to the telecom regulator mentioned that it found that the number of NTTN operators working in the country was not sufficient to support its activities.
The letter also said that the government and the home ministry had allowed the entity to establish integrated lawful interception system (ILIS) to carry out its activities.
It said ILIS would be connected with the international internet gateway operators, internet service providers, broadband wireless access service providers, national internet exchange operators, internet protocol telephony service providers and public switched telephone network and mobile network operators.
All the telecom operators are connected to the NTMC’s existing monitoring system through five NTTN operators, said the unit, adding that the entity felt the number of operators was not adequate to provide the services.
To support different government agencies with required information, the NTMC requested the telecom regulator to take measures to award it NTTN licence.
The BTRC official, however, said that the government had no intention to issue any new NTTN licence for now considering the market of NTTN business along with the objective issue.
Due to its policy decision, the government in 2014 declined a plea made by Bangla Phone, which ran NTTN service based on a government’s no-objection certificate till 2015, for a NTTN licence.
Currently, five companies — three state run and two private — are in NTTN business in the country.
The companies are: Bangladesh Railway, Bangladesh Telecommunication Company Limited, Power Grid Company of Bangladesh, Fiber@Home and Summit Communications.
The government has kept NTTN business limited to five entities in an apprehension that the market might become saturated if more entities are allowed to run the service.

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