BTRC directs GP to deposit TK 30cr fine in next 10 days

Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha . Dhaka | Published: 22:52, Jan 29,2017


Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission through sending letter has directed the country’s leading mobile phone operator Grameenphone to deposit the amount of fine of Taka 30 crore within 10 days.
Talking to BSS, BTRC secretary and spokesperson Sarwar Alam today said they have sent the letter to the operator on Thursday.
‘Countdown of the ten days has been started from Sunday as we’ve issued the letter on Thursday afternoon,’ he added.
The directive has been issued as the 201th meeting of the commission has upheld the earlier decision scrapping the plea filed by the operator of revising the fine of Taka 30 crore that was imposed for providing unauthorised services.
‘If the operator is failed to comply with the directive, legal action would be taken,’ according to the decision of the meeting.
However, GP official said they were yet to receive any letter from BTRC.
BTRC chairman Shahjahan Mahmood earlier told BSS that the commission has rejected the appeal. ‘So Grameenphone has no option, they have to pay the money.’
In October last year, the telecom regulator has slapped a Taka 30 crore fine on Grameenphone for providing internet broadband service to clients breaching the Telecommunications Act 2001.
The penalty is related to Grameenphone’s ‘GO Broadband’ initiative, a high-speed internet service offered by Agni Systems and ADN Telecom in partnership with the operator. The network solutions were provided to Sonali Bank.
In December, 2014, Grameenphone signed a bilateral agreement with Sonali Bank to set up last-mile connectivity for the bank through a fibre optic network. But, rules do not permit a mobile operator to deploy fibre optic cables. Later, the operator revised the agreement and incorporated AND Telecom and Agni System.
Following the introduction of the service, Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh lodged a complaint to the regulator that GO Broadband was providing point-to-point data connectivity with transmission to some commercial banks.
After receiving the complaint, in July 13 last year BTRC issued show-cause notice and sought clarification from the mobile phone carrier within 30 days. Grameenphone replied to the notice on August 11 last year, but it failed to satisfy the regulator.
Later, the 200th meeting of the commission penalised Grameenphone of Taka 30 crore for offering ‘coordinated service’ without complying with rules as well as violating Bangladesh Telecommunication Act 2001. A letter to this end was sent to Grameenphone on November 6 last year and the operator replied to regulator on November 16. But, rejecting the Grameenphone’s letter, BTRC directed the operator to deposit the fine amount within 7 days.
On December 6, Grameenphone filed an application under Section 65(5) of Telecommunication Act 2001 and sought 15 days. The regulator again on December 12 directed Grameenphone to deposit the fine money.
As per rules, ISPs can offer connectivity to users like banks and other service providers, but for doing so they have to be connected via fibre optic cables of Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Network operators. But, no ISPs or NTTN operators were involved in the agreement between Grameenphone and Sonali Bank. 

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