Consecutive mass meetings of BNP are going on in the divisional cities of the country. Except for Chittagong, almost every rally day, mobile phone internet speed decreases in the respective areas. According to the mobile network operator sources, they reduce the internet speed in certain areas on the day of the rally as per government directives.
The first divisional mass meeting of BNP was held on October 12, in Chittagong. After that, the party held rallies in Mymensingh, Khulna, Rangpur, Barisal and Faridpur. Mobile phone internet speed has been seen to decrease during every rally except Chittagong.
According to related sources, 3G and 4G internet services were stopped in Khulna, Rangpur, Barisal and Faridpur on the day of the rally. Only 2-G service was active, through which only mobile phone calls could be made. However, the internet service returned to normal soon after the rally ended. However, none of the mobile network operators want to say anything officially about this.
The BNP leaders alleged that the internet speed up like the transport strike was also done under the direction of the government. This is done so that BNP rallies cannot be broadcast live on various social media including Facebook page and cannot use communication apps.
Saturday (November 19) mass meeting of BNP in Sylhet. A transport strike has already been called in the surrounding districts around the programme. What is the mobile phone network or internet situation will be understood after the rally starts. After that, the party has scheduled mass meetings in Comilla on November 26, Rajshahi on December 3 and Dhaka on December 10.
According to several related sources, instructions are given to reduce the speed of the Internet citing security reasons. When asked about this matter, Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) Vice Chairman Md. Mohiuddin told Prothom Alo that he is not aware of BTRC giving any such instructions. However, due to some technical problem, the speed may be less. Apart from this, if more people gather somewhere, the normal network access is obstructed.
According to sources of mobile network operators, they do not have the authority to disrupt essential services such as internet or mobile phone networks on their own initiative in any area. But usually when there is a large concentration of people in a certain area, the mobile phone operators increase the network capacity, so that the users do not face problems in getting the service.
BNP Standing Committee member Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury sees the transport strike and slowing down of internet speed as a hindrance to the political programme. He told Prothom Alo that the ruling party uses all the means to stop the opposition party. Slowing down the internet is part of that.