The growth of new internet connections fell 21.58 percent year-on-year to 1.09 crore in 2018, a three-year low.
Industry insiders blamed the fall on the restriction imposed on digital services ahead of the national polls, as the sector lost 11.18 lakh active mobile connections in the last two months of 2018.
This was the first time the internet industry in Bangladesh has observed a negative growth for two consecutive months.
If the restriction had not been there, internet use would have continued growing keeping pace with the economy, industry people said.
The number of active mobile connections also fell by 0.03 percent to 15.69 crore in December from the previous month.
Only Grameenphone posted positive growth in the last month of 2018, while the market share of the three other operators shrunk.
As of December, there were 9.13 crore active internet connections, of which 8.55 crore was mobile internet, 57.35 lakh broadband and the rest WiMax, according to data from the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission.
Since its launch in February 2018, the country now has 1.17 crore fourth generation (4G) mobile internet users.