BTCL hits snags

November 13, 2009

State-owned BTCL has hit the doldrums, unable to provide new land phone connections in most metropolitan areas including Dhaka, but still has lofty plans.
There are ten private sector operators providing land phone services across the country apart from BTCL. Together, the state-run and private companies provide just 1,571,748 land phone connections across a country with a population of over 150 million. Despite this, BTCL eyes an ambitious target to create 10 million new land phone connections by 2015 to provide telecom services ‘to the masses’.
Many are sceptical. Industry insiders say, since transforming itself into a company, BTCL (formerly Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board) has failed to significantly improve commercial operations.
They say it has fallen short in meeting demand for connections in many areas—though not all—for lack of initiative among officials and staff.
Lack of capacity of the present exchanges in Dhaka, Chittagong and other divisional cities, along with ‘cable crisis’, are obstructing the company’s growth, admits BTCL managing director SM Khabiruzzaman.
But, he told, in spite of such constraints BTCL has been able to enlist one lakh (100,000) new subscribers in the last four months. Several short and long term projects have been taken up to increase the number of land phone subscribers, said Khabiruzzaman, aiming to fulfil the ‘one crore’ target.
New connections across the country will be provided through optical fibre lines, of which thousands can be packed in to just one cable, he said.

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