Chaos in Bangladesh’s Illegal VoIP business
Take a listen to a report on BBC Radio Four’s PM programme broadcast on the 9th April which talks about the current chaos in Bangladesh brought about by the enforced closure of ‘illegal’ VoIP businesses. This is one of the impacts of the state of emergency imposed three months ago and has resulted in a complete breakdown of the Bangladeshi phone network.
It seems that VoIP calls accounts for up to 80% of telephone traffic from abroad in the country driven by low call rates of between 1 and 2pence per minute.
The new military backed government has been waging war on small VoIP businesses with the “illegality and corruptions of the the past being too long tolerated”. Many officials have been arrested, buildings pulled down and businesses closed.
The practical result has thrown the telephone industry into chaos as hundreds of thousands of Bangladeshi’s living abroad try to call home home only to get the engaged tone.
“In many countries VoIP is legal but in Bangladesh it has been long rumoured that high profile politicians have been operating the VoIP businesses and had an interest in keeping them outside of the law and unregulated to avoid taxes on the enormous revenues they generated.”
The report says that the number of conventional phone lines is being doubled in April but to 30,000 lines but with a population of over 140 million people this is too few!
You can listen to the report here Chaos in Bangladesh’s Illegal VoIP business Copyright BBC
It really is amazing how disruptive a real disruptive technology can be, but when this happens it usually comes back to bite us!
I talked about the Sim Box issue in Revector, detecting the dark side of VoIP, and the Bangladesh situation provides the reasoning about why incumbent carriers are often hell bent on stamping VoIP traffic out. In the western world, the situation is no different, but governments and carriers do not just bulldoze the businesses – maybe they should in some cases!
Addendum #1: the-crime-of-voice-over-ip-telephony/