ISPs threw internet shut down drill

internetMNA National Desk: ISPs (Internet service providers) and mobile-phone operators have threw a drill to shut down internet services instantly should there be a need for emergency response to militant attacks. The drill happened in a commercial zone of the capital Dhaka around 1am on Tuesday.

“We’ve started work.” telecom regulators BTRC Chairman Dr. Shahjahan Mahmood told to media after the drill began. Mobile-phone companies verified their abilities to shut down voice services.

“The capacity to close voice call service along with internet connection is being tested,” he said. A special squad of BTRC oversaw the drill. Commercial area was selected for the drill since it remains nearly vacant after office hours.

The shutdown of voice services were being held for a short time so that the subscribers will not be capable to realize it. Earlier, BTRC officials said that they confronted some difficulties to shut down the internet in Gulshan area during the attack on Holey Artisan Bakery on 1 July.

On July 1, however, 28 lost lives including 6 gunmen, 20 hostages and 2 police officers in Gulshan Hostage Crisis on Saturday morning. Twenty hostages, all foreigners, had been slaughtered by gunmen long before the rescue operation was launched Saturday morning at the captured restaurant.

The militants also sent pictures of the bloody killing site to outside. The photos were later published in Islamic State’s Amaq news agency. Broadband internet access was shut down in the zone on that day to stop the militants from interactive with others outer the cafe.

Following the attack, several quarters discussed whether there is a way to stop data transfer without interfering voice call services and it has led to the shutdown drill.

BTRC chairman Dr. Shahjahan Mahmood said, “We would shut down internet operation in any area on Monday night to have an experience so that we can take immediate action in case of emergency.”

Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB) assisted the telecom regulatory authority in the shutdown exercise, Mahmood later added.

The ISPs were requested to block some web pages and the BTRC observed whether they could do it. It was also verified whether the security forces could use their communication devices at the time of shutdown.


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