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5G broadband network to be launched in Jan: Jabbar

  • Special Correspondent
  • 14 August, 2022 12:00 AM
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5G broadband network to be launched in Jan: Jabbar

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Posts and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar said the government will introduce broadband network of 5G in Bangladesh in January 2023.

The minister disclosed it at a seminar titled ``Regulation of Digital, Social Media & OTT Platforms: The need to strike the right balance”.

He was speaking as the as the chief guest at the event, organised by Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) in Dhaka on Saturday.

Jabbar said the two ministries -  Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Ministry of Post, Telecommunications and Information Technology have different areas of supervision in digital, social media and OTT platforms.

“Therefore, there is no scope of conflict in future,” he added.

The minister backed the regulation and said Facebook and Youtube are run on the USA-based community standard, many of which are not suitable to that of Bangladesh.

“The draft regulation will ensure that the online content won’t go against the norms and values of Bangladesh.”

Digital, social media & OTT platform entrepreneurs and experts demanded industry-friendly regulation so that this new media can harness the potential of the new avenue of economic opportunities.

They said digital platforms come with new opportunities of creative production, employment, and showcasing the country’s culture globally. Hence, the regulation should not be a controlling mechanism, but be facilitating to the growth of the industry.

They also fear the two different regulations prepared by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Ministry of Post, Telecommunications and Information Technology might contradict each other while implementing.

Speaking as the special guest, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Secretary Md. Mokbul Hossain informed that two different ministries prepared different guidelines on the same issue by the direction of the court.

Earlier, FBCCI President Md. Jashim Uddin urged the policy makers not to hinder the growth of the new potential sectors.

He also stressed to further distinguish the scope of monitoring of the two ministries. The FBCCI president called for grabbing the digital opportunities and also upholding the country’s very own culture on global platforms.

FBCCI Senior Vice President Mostofa Azad Chowdhury Babu thanked the minister for successful  use of information technology during the time of Covid-19 pandemic.

The keynote paper presented by Barrister Rashna Imam came up with the recommendations of soft regulation and self-regulation of the platforms and also more soft punitive measures for the violation of the regulation. She called for securing net neutrality.

In panel discussion, FBCCI Director Syed Almas Kabir informed that the global OTT Platform market size is of $178 billion which will reach $275 billion by 2027. “Therefore, the regulation must facilitate the local companies to strengthen Bangladesh’s position in this market.”

BTRC DG (System & Services) Brig. Gen. Md Nasim Parvez said the regulation is drafted with the aim of securing the responsible business by the digital platforms.

For this, BTRC discussed with 61 organisations including Facebook and Tiktok. The agency also went through the Indian and New Zealand’s regulations, the DG informed, adding that any digital platform can register with BTRC at no cost.

The Managing Director of Asia Internet Coalition Jeff Paine urged the government to analyse the economic impact of the new regulation before implementing. 

Meta Bangladesh Public Policy Head Sabhanaz Rashid Diya demanded different regulations for curated and un-curated content providers.

RTV CEO Syed Ashik Rahman opined that the foreign content producers that are doing business in Bangladesh must set up their local offices in Bangladesh.

The co-founder and director Navidul Huq urged the government to facilitate the journey of local OTT platforms with the regulation as they compete with international platforms and depict local cultures as well.

The Executive Editor of Dhaka Tribune Reaz Ahmad called for reducing the level of punishment in the regulation drafted.

FBCCI Secretary General Mohammad Mahfuzul Hoque moderated the seminar.