Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB) has alleged irregularities in the 'Info Sarkar-3' project which vows to provide Internet services at the union level. But Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) claims they are proceeding with the project according to the rules and regulations.
The association claimed that if the proposal is approved, the government-adopted policies will be violated along with the disruption of internet services across the country. President of ISPAB MA Hakim made the allegation while talking with this correspondent at a hotel after holding a press conference in the capital's Karwan Bazar yesterday.
The association sought Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's intervention to stop the irregularities in the project. ISPAB said, Nationwide Telecommun-ication Transmission Network (NTTN) won the contract of Internet service at the union level instead of real internet service providers breaking the rules.
On August 9, the Cabinet Committee on Public Procurement recommended introduction of two purchase proposals under the third phase of the 'Info Sarkar' project to be implementation under the supervision of the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC). Optical fiber networks will be set up in 2,600 unions in the country under government funding in this project.
ISP president said, "If the proposals are finalized, the two private / privately-owned NNN (Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Network) licensing companies will be benefited, but the business will be rolled out to millions of people who are related to ISP business.
He said, the government is giving all the costs, but because of having two licenses, they are becoming the owner of all things. The two companies will do business with the government money.
"He claimed that the government could be benefited if there were competition with some other parties given licenses".
MA Hakim said that ECNEC has approved the project to issue tender in 8 packages, and in both these stages, only two companies submitted tender. Among them, Summit Communi-cations will cover 1,307 unions and Fiber-at-Home 1 was recommended to implement work of 293 unions of the project.
In order to protect the commercial interests of two companies without the prior approval of ECNEC, the tenders were called in two packages instead of the jurisdiction of BCC and clearly violating the rules and procedures of the government, he added. ISPAB also said, there was no chance of open competition in this regard, because the two NTTN organizations shared their work on the basis of negotiation, which is in conflict with the purchase rules of the public sector.
The President of the ISPAB said NTTA-licensed entities have the jurisdiction to set up, renovate and hire access network services (ANS) only to the National Telecommun-ication Network, according to the BTRC. And the responsibility of providing internet services at customer level is only for ANS institutions. In this case, they have violated the terms of the license.
He said, "It has been suggested to give the mandate for 20 years under this tender. But as per the terms of the NTTN license, licensed entities cannot make any agreement outside their license period. But one of the two companies has a license of around 6.5 years and the other is about 7.5 years old. So, it is not understandable how the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) recommended giving 20-year work order to the two companies."
However, in a statement regarding this, BCC said, according to NTTN co's network the ECNEC-approved 8 packages have been slashed to 2 packages. It will be included in the amendment in the DPP revision later. Apart from this, the rules and regulations of the PPR 2008 have been followed in the process of calling and evaluation and those were sent to the appropriate authorities for approval.
BCC also said, NTTN organizations sell bandwidth to ISP according to the existing rules in the country and ISP organizations provide internet service at customer level. 'Info Sarkar 3' project will follow the rules for providing internet services at the union level of the 3rd phase of the project.