People in Bangladesh are likely to experience slow internet in the next three to four days due to maintenance work on a primary submarine cable in the Bay of Bengal.
This might have a substantial adverse effect on e-commerce, especially the service-oriented industry, infotainment, and garment orders fully dependent on the internet, and on freelancers relying on outsourced work from overseas.
“Certainly this will create some challenges in our work, but right now we cannot guess how it will impact our business,” said Raihan Mahmood, a reputed freelancer who has been awarded by the government at Bangladesh ICT Expo on Friday.
He said their job nature necessitated uninterrupted internet and “even a few seconds' interruption could cause huge damage”. But slow internet is quite better than remaining completely without it, Mahmood added.
The country's first undersea cable, SEA-ME-WE-4, will be shut down for at least three days starting from the early hours of October 23 for running a lot of maintenance work at a depth of 115 kilometers in the Bay of Bengal from the cable landing station in Cox's Bazar.
This will be the first time the cable will be fully shut down in its history of 12 years, said Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd (BSCCL).
The consortium of SEA-ME-WE-4 made the announcement of maintenance a few months back but BSCCL could not organise any alternative connectivity for the period.
They issued a public notice, signed by Mashiur Rahman, managing director of BSCCL, on October 19 stating that the maintenance work might lead to customers getting slow internet speeds.
This correspondent could not reach Rahman yesterday despite several attempts.
Currently Bangladesh is using about 450 Gbps of bandwidth. BSCCL supplies 250 Gbps and an additional 200 Gbps is imported from India.
Of BSCCL's 250 Gbps, about 200 Gbps is supplied through SEA-ME-WE-4.
Bangladesh is currently using about 200 Gbps of bandwidth through SEA-ME-WE-4. However, all this bandwidth cannot be routed through a recently connected second submarine cable (SEA-ME-WE-5) of the country.
Emdadul Hoque, general secretary of the Internet Service Provider Association of Bangladesh, said BSCCL can hardly route 100 Gbps through SEA-ME-WE-5 and they have not arranged any other alternative.
So there will be a shortage of 100 to 120 Gbps of bandwidth in the country for the next three to four days, he said. “This will cause internet speeds to slow down in the country,” said Hoque.
What customers currently can do within 30 minutes will take 40 to 50 minutes when SEA-ME-WE-4 is shut down and there will be no other problem, Hoque also added.
Earlier in January the country experienced a temporary disruption in internet services due to maintenance work on the submarine cable.
At that time BSCCL had no other alternative submarine cable connection. Internet users of the country also experienced the same in October last year.
As of August, the country's total internet connections reached 7.71 crore, of which 7.19 crore connections come from mobile operators, according to a Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission report.