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Dhaka Tribune

‘No internet’ in Wifi buses!

Update : 15 May 2014, 06:46 PM

Although it has been a month since the government introduced free 3G Wifi internet facilities initially in at least eight ‘Wifi buses’ operating in the capital, passengers have complained that most of these buses shared no internet connection at all.

Under an initiative of the Access to Information (a2i) Programme of the Prime Minister’s Office, some 20 buses of state-owned Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTC) along the Motijheel-Uttara (double-deckers) and Motijheel-Balughat routes (articulated buses) were supposed to be transformed into Wifi buses; each containing at least four 3G wireless routers of state-owned mobile phone operator Teletalk.

However, most of these buses were yet to be fitted with the 3G wireless routers. As a result, passengers with smart phones or laptops were not able to use the internet services while travelling through the buses.

“I could not find the 3G Wifi service of the bus. So, I use internet through my operator’s network,” said Sumaiya Mehzaben, a university student.

“I could not use the Wifi service through my laptop. So, I tried again with my smart phones, but nothing happened. My devices could not find the wifi network of the bus,” said Rajib Noor, an employee of a private company, while travelling on a WiFi bus (Dhaka-Gha 11-6536).

“When I asked the conductor, he had no idea about the service,” he added.

“I work in the bus and I do not know anything about this. The owners will be able to explain the issue,” said the bus conductor Jahangir.

When the driver of the vehicle was asked the same question, driver Mukul said: “I heard that the routers were kept at Joar Shahara bus depot. But, it has not been installed yet.”

When asked, BRTC Joar Shahara Depot Manager Abu Bakar Siddique rejected the claims and said: “There are no routers here. All of the routers have been installed in the bus.”

However, this correspondent found out that some five out of eight “Wifi buses” had no 3G wireless routers installed in them. Such routers cost around Tk 3,300 in the local market.

“The routers were installed in double-deckers and articulated buses. We tried to provide routers to most of the buses. But, I will inform the matter to the managing director of the company.” said Kamal Uddin Ahmed, additional secretary of Information & Communication Technology Division under Ministry of Posts, Telecommunications & Information Technology and director of Teletalk Bangladesh Ltd.

Teletalk Bangladesh Managing Director Gias Uddin Ahmed said: “We gave four routers. I do not know if any routers were distributed after that. I have to look into the matter as I am not aware of the matter properly.”

“We are trying to provide technology to the commuters. The plan to distribute more routers to more buses will depend on passenger’s demand and the success of the digital bus service.”

“We will sit with our officials to find out about the matter in this regard,” he further said.

BRTC Administration & Operation Director Nikhil Ranjan Roy told the Dhaka Tribune: “I have not yet received any complaint in this regard. Routers have been installed to provide services to commuters. If routers were not installed in any of the buses, it will be sorted out soon,” he added. 

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