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BTRC proposes higher minimum mobile, fixed internet speeds

The telecom regulator plans to set new standard for 4G and broadband internet speed as part of its move to ensure much-needed faster digital connectivity for the users across the country.

According to a decision of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), the minimum speed for mobile internet will be 15 Mbps and that for the broadband internet will be 20 Mbps.

The decision was taken at a virtual meeting between the Post and Telecommunication Division, the BTRC and the Prime Minister’s Adviser for ICT Sajeeb Wazed on October 12.

The minimum speed under the current standard for broadband internet is 10 Mbps, while it is 7 Mbps for mobile internet.

As per the latest decision, internet service providers and mobile phone operators that don’t maintain the minimum speed will not be categorised as broadband and 4G service providers.

The BTRC has formed a committee to implement the latest minimum speed.

The committee will consult with all the operators and submit a proposal to the commission. After receiving the report, the BTRC will issue the official order about the new internet speed standard.

There were 11.54 crore mobile internet users and 1.01 crore broadband internet users in Bangladesh at the end of August, BTRC data showed.

In 2018, the commission increased the minimum speed for broadband internet from 5Mbps to 10Mbps. Still, many users across the country are not getting the minimum speed.

In fact, Bangladesh has the worst mobile internet speed among 110 countries, according to the 2021 Digital Quality of Life index, published by Surfshark, a globally acclaimed VPN service company. The overall ranking of the country is 103rd.

MA Hakim, president of the Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB), says the BTRC has discussed with the association about raising the benchmark on broadband internet.

“We have already informed the commission that it will take two years for the ISP industry to implement the new benchmark.”

“This is because national-level ISPs are yet to expand their footprint up to the union level due to the high costs of transmissions.”

Hakim said ISPs were now working to implement the uniform internet rate at the customer level across the country with a view to lifting the country’s broadband internet penetration to 30 per cent by March next year and 60 per cent by 2023.

Currently, the penetration rate is 8 per cent. The Daily Star

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