BTRC to issue VSAT licences for utilisation of country’s own satellite

Publishes draft guidelines seeking public opinions by Sept

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:00, Sep 12,2019


The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has drafted guidelines on granting licences to operate VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) for providing internet connectivity by using satellite, a very expensive technology for the use of internet connectivity.

Before the installation of the country’s first submarine cable in May, 2006, the country was fully dependent on the VAST-based internet connectivity.

However, the country has phased out the VSAT-based internet connections, except a few, taking security concern into consideration.

Officials of BTRC said that the successful launch of the country’s own satellite Bangabandhu-1 had prompted the government to rethink and to reopen the technology for the mass people.

To this end, the commission on Wednesday published the draft guidelines, seeking public opinions within September 30, 2019.

Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited chairman Shahjahan Mahmood told New Age on Wednesday, ‘Rather than sticking to a conservative approach towards the technologies use, opening up the scope for providing internet connectivity through VSAT is a good move of the commission.’

The service would allow utilising bandwidth capacity of the country’s first communication satellite, he said.

Besides, people in the remote areas across the country would be able to get internet connectivity and improve their productivity as well, Shahjahan said.

Once the VSAT technology was considered a service for the aristocratic people, the former BTRC chairman said, adding that the BS-1 would help take the service to the common people.

Providing VSAT licences would open new business avenue for the country’s satellite as well, he said.

As per the draft guidelines, the commission would issue two types of licences — VSAT HUB operator licence and VSAT user licence, setting separate fees and charges for the operators.

For VSAT HUB operator, the licence fees would be Tk 6.5 lakh for 10 year along with Tk 1.5 lakh annual licence fee. The licence renewal fees, for five-year at a time after the initial tenure of 10-year, would be Tk 4 lakh. The VSAT operators would have to share 2 per cent of their gross revenue with the government.

Licence acquisition, annual licence and renewal fees for the VSAT user licences would be Tk 2 lakh each without the mandatory provision of revenue sharing.

As per the BTRC’s network topology, VSAT HUB operators would be allowed to issue connectivity to VSAT remote terminal by using satellite, while the VSAT user would be able to connect with the satellite for establishing data connectivity.

Both types of operators are barred from terminating any voice call.

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