Facebook, communication apps ban impacts numbers of internet user


The number of internet users dropped last month when the government slapped restrictions on the use of social networking site Facebook and several communication apps.

Internet service providers have held the restrictions responsible for the decline in the number of subscribers.

According to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), the number of internet subscribers dropped by 717,000 to 53,941,000 at the end of November from 54,658,000 at October-end.

Subscribers use internet through mobile phones, WiMax and fixed broadband in Bangladesh.

Citing security reasons, the BTRC blocked Facebook, its messenger app, Viber, WhatsApp and several other communication apps on Nov 18, four days before the execution of war criminals Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid.

The regulator lifted the restrictions on Facebook on Dec 10 and communication apps on Dec 14.

Mobile-phone operators and internet service providers said the use of bandwidth had decreased by around 30 percent following the blocking.

The number of internet subscribers on mobile phone dropped by 863,000 from October’s 52,331,000 to 51,400,000 in November.

WiMAX operators lost 5,000 subscribers. The number of WiMAX users was counted at 154,000 in November.

But, the ISP and PSTN subscribers’ base increased by 150,000 and crossed 2.318 million.

BTRC Chairman Shahjahan Mahmood, however, does not think the ban on Facebook and the communication apps is behind the drop in the number of internet subscribers.

“I think the figure will get normal in the next month,” he told bdnews24.com.

IT specialist Mustafa Jabbar told bdnews24.com Bangladesh has not given the internet the importance it deserves.

“This is reflected in the drop in the number of internet subscribers. The blocking of Facebook and other communication media might have an effect, because the young generation mostly make up the internet subscription base,” he said.