Second submarine cable delayed for inland link | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 23, 2016 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 23, 2016

Second submarine cable delayed for inland link

The installation of the second submarine cable has already been complete, but Bangladesh needs to wait for at least two months to get connected to the cable, as its inland link from the landing station to the capital is not yet ready.

Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd (BSCCL) was one of the founding members of the undersea cable -- South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 5 (SEA-ME-WE 5).

A 19-member consortium of 16 nations built the cable across Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Europe through sea.

The construction of the 20,000-kilometre subsea cable system was officially completed on December 13. Some member companies like Transworld Associates Private Ltd of Pakistan started getting services from the cable at least three months back as the installation of their portion was completed earlier.

As Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL), a state-owned company, failed to establish its connectivity link from the landing station in Kuakata to Barisal, it will take some time to get bandwidth from the submarine cable, said Monwar Hossain, managing director of BSCCL.

“We can provide services from February.”

Hossain said they wrote to BTCL at least 12 times in the last two years to pursue completion of the link, but the matter did not receive attention.

Earlier, BTCL awarded a contract to a company by violating rules for establishing the cable links and that is why the tender procedure was cancelled, insiders said.

Now, another state-owned company -- Bangladesh Cable Shilpa Ltd -- is doing the job, said officials of BTCL.

Bangladesh signed the submarine cable agreement with the international consortium in March 2014.

The country will get an additional 1,400 gigabits per second of bandwidth from the new cable.

BSCCL has 300 Gbps bandwidth now; the new cable will empower the company to reduce the wholesale bandwidth price and create an opportunity to export as well, said Hossain.

Initially, the longevity of the cable has been fixed at 20 years, which may be increased to 25 years by optimum maintenance.

The project cost Bangladesh Tk 660.64 crore; BSCCL took a loan of $44 million from the Islamic Development Bank. Repayment in instalments will begin in October 2017. “If we had been connected earlier, it would have helped us in repayment,” Hossain added.

Telecom Division Secretary Md Faizur Rahman Chowdhury, who is also the chairman of the board at both BSCCL and BTCL, said the initial work in establishing connectivity from the landing station to other parts of the country was a 'mess'. “We are sorry for that and we expect this link to be established soon,” Chowdhury said yesterday.

Bangladesh got its first submarine cable connection -- SEA-ME-WE-4 -- in 2006.

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