Telecom policy up for review

The government is going to revise the existing telecommunications policy, by the end of this year, to adopt the state-of-the-art advancements in the telecommunications sector. The policy was formed in 1998, to chalk out a plan for the development of the telecommunication sector of Bangladesh.
Sources with the ministry of post and telecommunications (MoPT) said that the ministry had already handed over the existing telecommunications policy to the International Telecommuni-cations Union (ITU), asking them to prepare a draft policy and submit it to the ministry, by September this year.
Two ITU experts — Jim Holmes and Sameer Sharma — have already started reviewing the policy, added the sources.
An MoPT official said that the policy was formulated in 1998, to ensure the orderly and rapid growth of telecommunication services, both in quality and quantity, in tandem with the socio-economic development of the country.
The policy had 18 objectives, which included exchange of information, promotion of national integration, universal access, digitalization, competitive framework, private sector development, resource mobilisation, liberal policy, access to new technology, private sector investment, foreign investment, implementation strategy, human resources development, defence and security, information technology, local manufacturing, regulatory framework, protection of users’ interests, and service standards.
The official also said that the ITU consultants would mainly work on the digitalisation, competitive framework, implementation strategy, information technology, and regulatory framework of the previous policy objectives.
Moreover, the previous policy had several strategies to meet specific targets for rolling out the telecommunication network across the country, which now needs a major overhaul, with the presence of several stakeholders.
Sources said that the ITU consultants would also review Section 4.2 of the Telecom Policy, which specified the role of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC). Meanwhile, officials with the telecom regulator said that it had long been suggesting a review of the existing telecom policy, to ensure a better growth for the sector.
Telecommunication minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju told The Independent that it had been 14 years since the formulation of the first telecommunication policy. “During this period, technology has changed a lot. So, we need to change the policy to build a true digital Bangladesh,” he said.

-With The Independent input

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