Hasinur Rahman Hasan, who resides in a small village named Amtoli in Dinajpur district, pays Tk1,000 each month for using a 1Mbps (megabyte per second) broadband Internet package.
On the other hand, Md Tamim, an undergraduate student from a hamlet in Bhola, pays Tk500 in monthly subscription fee for a similar package.
As per uniform price rate of broadband Internet announced by the government, both Hasinur and Tamim, however, are supposed to get a bandwidth of 5-10Mbps with the amount of money they are currently paying for using a 1Mbps connection.
Even after paying higher prices, Internet users, including students and young entrepreneurs in the remote areas of the country, are not getting a minimum speed compared to what people are getting in urban areas.
Thus, the digital divide is turning wider, as rural people are lagging behind due to limited and costly access to the Internet, according to experts and consumers' representatives.
If strict monitoring is not ensured, they warn, this divide will widen further.
The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), however, says it is taking necessary action against Internet service providers (ISPs) on the basis of complaints from consumers.
"We are getting complaints that some illegal ISPs are still charging higher prices for broadband Internet across the country. The commission is penalising the ISPs which are violating the order," said Md Zakir Hossain, spokesperson of the BTRC.
On 6 June this year, the BTRC announced the first-ever unified retail tariff for broadband Internet services across Bangladesh, which would allow rural consumers to enjoy their connections at a rate that is currently available only to urban users.
The new tariff for a 5Mbpas connection has been fixed at Tk500 while the cost of a 10Mbps connection has been set at Tk700-Tk800 and that of a connection of 20Mbps or above is set at Tk1,100-Tk1,200 per month.
The BTRC has named the initiative "One Country, One Rate", aimed at narrowing the digital divide and barring Internet service providers from charging a high price.
A month on, the initiative appears to have been on paper only as the unified tariff has not yet been implemented anywhere in the country. Instead, users are facing poor service as ISPs sell the same volume of broadband to more users.
Consumers have complained that Internet service providers refuse to provide Internet connections when they are requested to charge the government-fixed tariff.
The ISPs say they are purchasing broadband at a higher price from International Internet Gateways (IIGs) alongside paying high charges to the Nationwide Telecommunication Transmission Network (NTTN).
Mohiuddin Ahmed, president of the Bangladesh Mobile Phone Consumers Association, said users are now getting a reduced Internet speed.
"Earlier, the ratio of per Mbps Internet and consumers was 1:6, which was set at 1:8 in the new tariff order. Therefore, ISPs are making extra money by providing a smaller volume of Internet," he added.
The country has 11.73 crore Internet subscribers, 83% of whom are mobile Internet users and 17% are broadband users.
Broadband Internet users, however, are utilising the 58% or 1,392Gbps Internet bandwidth of the country's total consumption of 2,409Gbps, BTRC data show.
Throughout the country around 2,000 licensed and a large number of illegal ISPs are providing Internet service to users.
Md Emdadul Hoque, secretary-general of the Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (Ispab), a national platform of licensed Internet service providers, claimed that illegal ISPs are not selling Internet at BTRC's rate. "90% of those who are not following the government-fixed rates are illegal," he said.
Emdadul Hoque opined that the unified rate will be easy to implement if the regulatory authorities ensure three issues first – keeping cash servers, shutting illegal ISPs and fixing NTTN and IIGs' charges.