Facilitate Connecting the unconnected through quality Telecommunication services at an affordable price by introducing new technologies.
In order to facilitate a quick and stable socio-economic development and to provide a dependable telecommunication services, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) was formed on 31st January of 2002, under the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Act 2001. The Act has delineated its objectives as follows:
- To encourage the orderly development of Telecommunication System that enhance and strengthens the social and economic welfare of Bangladesh ;
- To ensure in keeping with the prevalent Social and economic realities of Bangladesh, access to reliable, reasonably price and modern Telecommunication services and internet. Services for the greatest number of people as far as practicable;
- To ensure the efficiency of the national Telecommunication System and it capability to complete in both the national and international spheres;
- To prevent and abolish discrimination in providing telecommunication services, to progressively effect reliance and competitive and market oriented system and in keeping with these objectives to ensure effective control of the Commission;
- To encourage the introduction of new services and to create a favorable atmosphere for the local and foreign investors who intend to invest in the Telecommunication Sector of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh, the then territory of British India got very limited introduction of telecommunication. The Telegraph Act of 1885 was the first legislation on this evolving technology service. It was further enhanced by the wireless Telegraphy Act, 1933.
Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board Ordinance of 1979 created the constitutional body “for the purpose of efficient management, operation and development of telegraphs and telephones in Bangladesh”.
The BTTB Ordinance of 1979 was further revised in 1995 and the responsibilities of managing the total telecommunications. BTTB remained as the sole provider of basic telecommunication services. Then came the era of convergence! Telephony broke the barrier of traditional means of just voice conversations. Too many elements got part of the platform-mobile, PSTN, data, internet, imaging, messaging, media, entertaining, banking, advertising etc.
The liberalization of Bangladesh Telecommunications Sector began with small steps in 1989 with the issuance of a license to a private operator for the provision of inter alia cellular mobile services to complete with the previous monopoly provider of Telecommunications services the Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB). Significant changes in the number of fixed & mobile services deployed in Bangladesh occurred in the late 1990 and the number of services in operation have subsequently grown exponentially in the past few years. The initiatives both from government and public sector have helped to grow this sector.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Act of 2001 is the outcome of such booming development of technology and service parameters.
Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) an independent Regulatory Commission established under the Bangladesh Telecommunication Act, 2001, (Act no18 of 2001) published by the parliament in the Bangladesh Gazette extraordinary in new on April 16, 2001. BTRC started his journey from 31st January 2002 to conduct the activities of the said act. With a initiation of its activates, necessary authority, responsibilities and related concern of the ministry of posts and Telecommunications were vested on to BTRC.
According to the Telecommunication act, the Commission is assigned with various responsibilities. Out of those, establishing, operating, regulating, maintaining telecommunication establishments and providing various telecom services in the country are the major ones. Besides, fixing charges on the subscribers, ensuring the services for the subscribers and to ensure people’s right are also tasks of BTRC. The social and economic behaviourial pattern of the telecom service providers are also monitored by the BTRC to ensure that the users are not subjected to harassment and not indifferent in nature.
As a statutory organization, the Commission has to maintain its official seal and continuity as provided in Bangladesh Telecommunication Act 2001, Clause 6(9). The law vests the Commission with such responsibilities as procuring and keeping under possession of movable and immovable properties, transferring authority, right to execute agreements and accomplishing other activities within the purview of the telecom law.
Meanwhile, The Telecommunication Act (Corrected) bill has been passed in 2010. According to the bill, approval of the government will be needed to provide telecom services, to route international calls, importing Telecommunication equipments and in transferring the ownership of such equipments. Any violation, shall be punished with an administrative fine of maximum of taka 300 crore or 10 years imprisonment or by both.
According to the act, If an operator keeps violating even after being fined of taka 300 crore, the said operator would be further fined at the rate of taka 1 crore par day as an administrative fine. In case of individuals, the act has the provision of charging and administrative fine of taka 100 crore and maximum imprisonment for 5 years.
After the amendment of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Act 2001, issuance of any telecom license would require prior government approval. At the same time, such approval will also be required for transferring ownership of to cancel any license. Earlier, different tariffs, call charge and other charges used to be determined by BTRC, now in such cases, which needs prior governmental approval. Where government, will give decision within 60 days.