Telecom Regulatory Environment in 'Digital Bangladesh': Exploring the Reasons Behind Poor Sector Specific Performance
17 Pages Posted: 23 Dec 2011
Date Written: December 9, 2011
This research explores the key reasons behind the poor performance of the regulator as well as the policymakers in major Telecom sectors of Bangladesh. Telecommunication industry is considered to be one of the key enablers for the present government’s 'Digital Bangladesh' vision. The government has laid out strategies in important national priority areas (e.g., education, healthcare, agriculture, etc.) to integrate telecom based solutions for ensuring a sustainable future growth. But in reality, the government is not following up its words with actions. Based on the findings from LIRNEasia’s Telecom Regulatory Environment Survey of 2011 among the key industry stakeholders, the paper analytically explores the reasons behind Bangladesh’s below par achievements in Mobile, Fixed, and Broadband industries. Failure in developing an effective policy framework, absence of an independent regulatory body and long term planning, and de-liberalization of telecom regulatory process with high level of uncertainty have been identified by this research as some of the primary challenges in the Bangladeshi telecom sector. In order to address the challenges identified, the paper proposes a set of recommendations in the areas of licensing process, universal service obligation, anti-competitive practices, and quality of service. Establishment of an effective and independent regulatory body, market based approach for international connectivity, addressing the bottlenecks to ensure better QoS (across the industry), transparent licensing process based on market value, private participation in USO related activities- are some of the major ways identified by this research, which should help Bangladesh to overcome the present policy-implementation disconnects and positively assist towards establishing a true, equitable 'Digital Bangladesh'.
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