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IPTV ‘banned’ in Bangladesh

Bangladesh, which has only just permitted DTH broadcasts (via operator RealVu) to start, has slapped a ban on the country’s embryonic IPTV and VoD service providers.

The local regulator (Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, BTRC) already has something of a reactionary reputation. In 2013 it slapped a similar ‘ban’ on online blogging, as well as limited competition in the country as far as ISP provision is concerned. Human Rights Watch, for example, has frequently criticised Bangladesh for its actions which include prison sentences for some on-line individuals who were critical of the government.

The BTRC’s latest actions prohibits ISPs from continuing IP-based services, and says the providers are not licensed. The BTRC is using the local Telecoms Act (2001) and the more recent National Broadcast Policy (2014) which requires any such services to be licensed.

The local Daily Star newspaper quotes MA Hakim, the president of Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh, saying: “We find no violation of the existing policies or regulation and the regulator didn’t even discuss it with us. If the Government wants to block VoD, then logically, they have to block Youtube. Can they do so?”

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