A recent crackdown on illegal VoIP calls by the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has resulted in an increase in legal VoIP calls in the country by 13 million minutes to 39 million minutes per day. The BTRC carried out its campaign in the offices of telecom operators, including international gateways (IGW), interconnection exchanges (ICX (News - Alert)) and international Internet gateways (IIG).
This crackdown was prompted when the amount of legal VoIP was cut nearly in half from 50 million minutes to 26 million minutes per day.
A BRTC official, who wished to remain anonymous, stated that it is difficult to put a stop to illegal VoIP business in Bangladesh due to uneven competition among operators as well as "the involvement o powerful quarters." This official went on to add that the VoIP market in the country — including 78 new IGW, ICX and IIG licenses recently issued — still isn't enough to meet market demand. Though an uphill battle, the efforts being made by the BRTC continue to be successful.
International call termination through VoIP is prohibited by law in Bangladesh. As such, the BRTC has been battling the practice for some years now.
For example, in December of 2008, the commission cancelled the license of Maisha Technologies Ltd for its involvement in illegal call termination over VoIP. Then, in March 2009, under the leadership of the then newly appointed BTRC chairman, Brig. Gen. (Rtd) Zia Ahmed, the BRTC announced it was to make an all-out effort to stop illegal VoIP.
At a meeting with the Telecom Infrastructure Operators of Bangladesh (TIOB), Ahmed stated, "Let all of us work together to help build a Digital Bangladesh, as visualized by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina."
The BRTC's International Long Distance Telecommunications System (ILDTS) policy aims for the smooth functioning of private sector telecom enterprises and ensures that these telecom enterprises contribute a certain amount of revenue to the Bangladeshi government.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman