The High Court on Sunday declared legal the imposition of a Tk 30-crore fine on mobile operator Grameenphone by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission for providing broadband internet services in violation of rules.
A High Court bench of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir gave the verdict after hearing a writ petition filed by GP challenging the legality of imposing the fine on October 30, 2016.
The BTRC however, requires issuing a fresh notice to GP asking it to pay the amount.
The HC in its verdict observed that GP committed a criminal offence by running broadband services in violation of the telecom law.
The court directed the Comptroller and Auditor General to assess within four months the actual benefit GP got in giving the broadband services.
In slapping the fine, the BTRC earlier said GP violated its licensing condition by providing internet connectivity under its ‘Go Broadband’ brand to 551 branches of state-run Sonali Bank through its own fibre transmission.
GP signed an agreement with Sonali Bank in December 2014 to establish last-mile connectivity for the bank through fibre optic.
According to the BTRC rules, only the Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Network operators are allowed to provide internet services through their own fibre transmission.
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 with the BTRC by the Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh in February, 2016.
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.
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