Internet service providers, cable operators to sit with Mustafa Jabbar ahead of ultimatum

Amid fears of a three-hour internet shutdown across the country every day from tomorrow, the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and internet service providers and cable operators are going to sit with the Post and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar after 4pm today to resolve the issue.

“We will have a meeting with the minister and the chief executive officer of the DSCC regarding our demands,” MA Hakim, president of Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB), told The Daily Star today.

The development comes as banks and travel agencies are fearing that their operations will ‘entirely collapse’ if the internet connection is troubled.

Earlier on October 12, Internet service providers and cable operators threatened to shut down their services across the country for three hours — from 10:00am to 1:00pm — every day from October 18 if their demands are not met after a move by Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) that started the process of removing overhead cables.

Their demands include the halting of the overhead cable removal drive by the city corporation by today, fixing of the “last mile cable” issue permanently, fixing the prices of internet and cable TV services by the ministry concerned at each level including 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, but if the issue is not resolved by tomorrow, 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 to beautify the city 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.

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