Bangladesh Stuck In Telecoms Jam

The VoIP sector in Bangladesh is under threat. The technology, though used widely in many countries around the world, is illegal in Bangladesh and will likely remain so as the government hopes to shield the state-owned telephone company, the Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board, from any competition. And its future becomes bleaker now that the country is under a state of emergency. The government is cracking down on illegally set up shops, including VoIP service providers. As such, Bangladeshis overseas find it hard to call home. “It used to cost one or two pence a minute to call home. Now we call but we cannot get through, we try again and again, but we just can’t get through,” said Hossein, a Bangladeshi working in London. Lt. Col Zia Safdar, who is spearheading the raids, said authorities were quite surprised at the enormous size of industry. Revenues from the VoIP calls were not taxed and the government is making every effort to address the problem.
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