17 August 2017
| Alan Burkitt-Gray
Bangladesh’s telecoms and information communications ministry is fighting an internal war over which division is responsible for building and maintaining a $360 million national fibre network.
One division is building networks
without authority, according to reports in Dhaka’s
Daily Star, and another – which has authority
– is building networks that in some cases duplicate
The Daily Star says that the information and communications
technology (ICT) division has built local and regional networks
and is planning to continue to national level without
Each division is run by a separate minister, with
Bangladesh’s prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, in
overall charge of the ministry, which also runs posts.
An official of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory
Commission (BTRC) told the Daily Star that "the ICT division
does not have the authority to develop or install fibre-optic
cable or any other telecom equipment".
The dispute has already reached the country’s
parliament, with members questioning telecoms minister Tarana
Halim on why the rival department is building fibre networks
It’s the job of her department and the state-owned
network, Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL), she
told the politicians.
"Without any coordination with the telecom division, the ICT
division has been expanding the network," she said, as quoted
in the Daily Star. "Now, it has created confusion over cable
maintenance. Since the telecom division has not developed the
links, it will be impossible for the BTCL to maintain the ICT
Her rival minister, Zunaid Ahmed Palak, did not attend the
meeting of the parliamentary committee, whose chairman said he
would take the issue to the prime minister.
"A lack of coordination between the divisions may result in
overlapping and pose serious uncertainty in the maintenance of
the lines in future," said Halim, according to the Daily Star