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August 23, 2007

Bangladesh to licence VoIP provision

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by Lin Freestone

The Bangladeshi government has announced that it will sell VoIP licences to private operators in an auction in October 2007.

The telecoms authorities in Bangladesh have reported that the government has approved the International Long Distance Telecommunication Services Policy 2007. The first stage of the policy involves international gateways hooked up to submarine cable and interconnection exchanges.

The second stage will have interconnection exchanges linked to the international gateways and access network service. In the final stage, the access network service will provide direct services to customers.

Under the policy, the government will provide three licences to the private sector for VoIP and all of them will have to set up in Dhaka. Two ICX licences to private operators will be awarded to operate national and international calls. Under these licences, two exchanges will be set up in Dhaka and one each in Chittagong, Sylhet, Bogra and Khulna. All national and international calls will be conducted through IGW and ICX.

In June 1996, the Bangladeshi government allowed VSATs to be operated in the Private Sector, allbeit to be provided solely by the Government owned Telephone Operator, BTTB. Only a handful of ISPs were connected within the first year. However, more liberal Government policies followed in the subsequent years which led to a rapid expansion of this industry, eventually resulting in over 180 registered ISP’s by 2005. ISPs are currently regulated by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission through the Bangladesh Telecommunications Act.

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