BTRC’s idle money to set up bus WiFi, rural connectivity
Published: December 14, 2015 2:04 pm
14 December 2015, Nirapad News: The much-talked about social obligatory fund (SOF) of the telecom regulator would be used for expanding connectivity in remote areas, setting up WiFi at student carrying public bus and financing at technology-based innovation.
“We’ve decided primarily to use the SOF, which remains idle, for expanding connectivity in remote and rural areas in both ways – optical fiber and wireless connection – to ensure high-speed internet for the people living there,” State Minister for Posts and Telecommunications Tarana Halim told BSS today.
She also said: “They would set up WiFi connectivity at the public buses which are being used in carrying students by the fund as well as finance in technology-based innovation.”
The state minister said ICT division had set up WiFi in the public buses, but it did not function properly that’s why new WiFi connection would be established in buses carrying students.
The regulator – Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) formed the SOF in 2012 deducting one per cent of the total income of the cellular phone operator, which now stands at Taka 725 crore, to flourish the growth of country’s telecom sector.
Later, SOF management committee was formed. A meeting of the committee held today at BTRC took the primary decision for spending the SOF.
The decision, Tarana Halim said, would be sent to the Prime Minister for final approval. “BTRC would send a proposal with the decision to the posts and telecommunications division by December 17, and then it would be forwarded to the Prime Minister. Hopefully, we will get the Prime Minister’s decision by December 18,” she added.
In the SOF, only the cellular phone operators have contributed nearly Taka 680 crore.
BTRC Chairman Dr Shahjahan Mahmood said: “We’ve discussed elaborately for spending the money of SOF focusing three sectors primarily.”
Replying to a query, he said: “Many issues related to the SOF remained in scattered manner. We’ve consolidated those in a good shape and set criteria for inclusion of other operators, as only the cellular phone operators have been contributing. Now, we will write letter to those operators for contributing to the SOF.”
But, the mode of SOF implementation is yet to be finalized, said Dr Mahmood.