BICMA seizes illegal internet antennas

Internet: The Bhutan InfoComm and Media Authority (BICMA) recently removed and confiscated antennas being used to acquire internet services from across the border during a raid in Phuentsholing.

Three teams comprising of BICMA, police and thromde officials carried out three simultaneous raids on February 5. A total of eight antennas were seized.

So far, the authority has found such antennas only in the southern border town.

Installing such antennas is illegal for two reason, according to BICMA.

BICMA telecommunications chief, Wangay Dorji, explained that Indian internet service providers do not have jurisdiction to provide their services on Bhutanese territory. Secondly, he pointed that the installation of such equipment requires a license. “By section 85(4) of the Act, if illegal radio communications equipment are found to have been installed, then the authority could seize such equipment,” Wangay Dorji said. “However, to do this, Authority needs to seek the court warrant and for this purpose, court warrant was sought from Phuentsholing dungkhag court before carrying out the raid.”

In a December notification, the authority asked the general public to refrain from installing such equipment. The authority also planned to remove them by December 16.

“As a follow up on the notification, the team from the authority was monitoring the status of such installation and then finally on 5th Feburary, a raid was carried out in collaboration with RBP and Phuentsholing thromde,” Wangay Dorji said.

“Most of the people who have installed such antennas are either business enterprises, hotels, training institute and fuel station,” he said. “Some of the Indians residing inside Bhutan has also used such equipment,” he added.

Gyalsten K Dorji

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