Source: The Financial Express
By: Engr. Nurul Basher
Ex-Director (Microwave) BT&T
The government has been taking hard actions against some telecom operators who are purportedly using their internet facilitates for making international telephone calls. The operators are being fined millions of takas, their most valuable equipments are being confiscated and some are being banned from continuing such operations.
As a former Bangladesh Telegraph & Telephone Board (BT&T) official, I still do not understand as to why VOIP should be declared illegal in the first place. To put it simply, I understand VOIP is transmitting speech signal through the internet bandwidth. The operator is paying his rent for the internet band width. Also he is paying for the telephone line rent and call charges. Capability to transmit voice over internet band width is made possible through the advancement of signal processing technology. Why should someone be punished for using higher technology?
I recall when in the early 1980’s fax machine was introduced, BT&T used to charge an additional amount of Tk 10,000/- per fax machine. By then I left BT & T and used to have heated argument with my friends in the BT & T top management about the matter. They introduced this charging system only because they found an extra income source without contributing anything.
Today, VOIP is declared illegal as BT & T is being unable to provide cheap service which the IP service providers are contributing. If BT & T is loosing revenue because of VOIP use by the internet operators, then it is BT&T’s fault. It is like punishing a motor bike rider by a bullock cart driver as the latter cannot catch up with the former. It is single stupidity and wrongdoing by someone who is short of in knowledge. I like to ask the authorities concerned to come clean and prove that VOIP is illegal because it is harmful to the people in the way toxic drug import is illegal because it harmful to national health. Following a bad law, even if it is a law, is harmful to the nation in the long run.
I call for a national debate and let the authorities concerned defend themselves to prove what they are doing by declaring VOIP “illegal” is right.