New submarine cable goes live Sunday
Bangladesh's second undersea cable will finally start functioning commercially from Sunday after a one year delay.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the cable through a video conference at her residence.
The cable built at a cost of Tk 660 crore will have an initial bandwidth of 200 Gigabits per second (Gbps), which will rise to 1,500 Gbps in phases, said Monwar Hossain, managing director of state-run Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd (BSCCL).
The country was connected with the second submarine cable -- South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 5 -- at the landing station in Kuakata on February 21.
But the BSCCL could not start the commercial operations because of the failure of another state-run company, Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd, to set up an uninterrupted inland link from Kuakata to Dhaka.
The project was supposed to be completed in two years, but the deadline was extended by a year due to the absence of the inland cable connectivity.
The undersea cable, owned by 19 companies from 16 countries, was inaugurated at a ceremony in Honolulu, Hawaii in January this year, and all the countries except Bangladesh have been using it for commercial purposes since then.
On March 2, State Minister for Telecom Tarana Halim told reporters during a visit to the landing station that the commercial operations of the cable would begin in the first half of the same month.
Later July 31 was fixed as the launch date, but it was cancelled after the inland link was down for 12 hours just before the opening ceremony.
After the launch, Bangladesh will not need to import bandwidth from India, he added.
Bangladesh now uses 180 Gbps bandwidth from its first submarine cable, SEA-ME-WE-4, which was set up in 2006. Another 260 Gbps is imported from India.
Initially, the longevity of the new cable was fixed at 20 years, which may be increased to 25 years through optimum maintenance.
The BSCCL has borrowed $44 million from the Islamic Development Bank for the project, the repayment of which will begin soon.