Ahead of the announced three-hour internet shutdown across the country every day from tomorrow, internet service providers and cable operators are going to sit with Post and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar at 6pm today to resolve the issue.
“The minister called an emergency meeting to discuss the issue and listen to our demands,” MA Hakim, president of Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB), told The Daily Star today.
“The meeting will be held via a digital platform,” he added.
The development comes as banks and travel agencies are fearing that their operations will “entirely collapse” if internet connection is disrupted.
On October 12, internet service providers and cable operators threatened to shut down their services across the country for three hours — 10:00am to 1:00pm — every day from October 18 if their demands are not met after Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) started removing overhead cables.
Their demands include immediately stopping the overhead cable removal by the city corporation; fixing the “last mile cable” issue permanently; setting the prices of internet and cable TV services by the ministry concerned at each level including for homes, offices, and banks; setting the prices of NTTN by the government to provide low-cost internet and cable TV services; and measures to ensure that NTTNs have the capability for uninterrupted service delivery to customers.
People now heavily rely on high-speed internet including for online classes and exams, office work, virtual meetings and shopping during the coronavirus pandemic. If the issue is not resolved, people will suffer in this dispute between the DSCC and the two service providers, according to industry insiders.
The service providers — ISPAB and Cable Operators Association of Bangladesh (COAB) — claimed Dhaka South City Corporation started removing overhead cables from all roads from August without serving any prior notice to internet service providers and cable TV operators.
In the last two months, ISPAB and COAB members have faced an estimated loss of Tk 20 crore due to removal of cables, the organisations claimed.