ISPs suspend shutdown for a week

Internet service providers and cable operators postponed their decision to shut down their services across the country for three hours every day from today, for a week.

The Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB) and The Cable Operators Association of Bangladesh (COAB) took the decision after an emergency meeting with the Post and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar at 6:00pm yesterday to resolve the issue.

Zunaid Ahmed Palak, state minister for ICT, and Md Afzal Hossain, posts and telecommunications division secretary, were also present at the meeting held on a digital platform.

“As the minister assured us that the issue will be resolved soon, we postponed our decision for one week,” ISPAB President MA Hakim told The Daily Star yesterday.

Besides, he said, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) invited the internet service providers and cable operators tomorrow (Sunday) to meet the mayor for a discussion to resolve the issue. So, they hope there will be a positive discussion, Hakim added.

Jabbar said in the meeting that the principal secretary to the prime minister will brief the PM on the matter today, adding, therefore that the strike should be suspended until a decision is taken by the PM.

“Internet service providers have made significant contributions towards digital Bangladesh. So, the government will take their logical demands seriously,” the minister said.

Jabbar said that the DSCC has verbally assured the two associations that they will not remove wires from Sunday till there is an alternative arrangement.

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 DSCC started removing overhead cables.

Their other demands include fixing the “last mile cable” issue permanently; setting 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.

ISPAB and COAB claimed DSCC started removing overhead cables from all roads from August without serving any prior notice to internet service providers and cable TV operators.


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