Bangabandhu-1 satellite's first commercial service is scheduled to begin in September when it will be connecting vessels navigating in the Bay of Bengal and around the country to each other and to inland ports.
The service will not only prevent accidents and ensure availability of assistance in times of need but also provide access to internet and television broadcasts.
Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Limited (BCSCL) signed a memorandum of understanding with the shipping ministry yesterday on the first business promise of Bangladesh's first satellite.
“BCSCL will earn a huge amount of money by providing this service,” said Md Saiful Islam, managing director of the state-owned company.
Islam, also an additional secretary at the telecom division, said, “The value will be declared when the final deal is signed.”
Islam signed the agreement with Md Abdus Samad, secretary to the ministry, in presence of Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan and Telecom and ICT Minister Mustafa Jabbar.
Samad said around 4,000 international vessels enter Bangladeshi waters while 35,000 domestic vessels navigate throughout the country annually.
The facilities can also be availed by inland river ports, ferry ghats and other riverside establishments, they said.
Confirming it to be Bangabandhu-1's first contract, Islam estimated that they will start providing the services from September. He said they had more commercial service contracts planned after September.
BCSCL is engaged in negotiations with eight other ministries and divisions on providing connectivity, Islam told The Daily Star. It is on the final stage of negotiations with the youth and sports ministry on enabling e-learning processes, as per a meeting held on the issue yesterday, Islam added. “Some non-governmental organisations are also contacting us to get connectivity and the details will be finalised gradually,” he said.
BCSCL also has plans to save a huge amount of foreign currency by providing connectivity to local television channels and leasing out the satellite's unused connectivity to other countries.
Bangabandhu-1 was launched into orbit on May 11, a project initially worth Tk 2,967 crore and later revised down to Tk 2,765 crore.
Project director of Bangabandhu-1, Mezbahuzzaman, said the satellite was operating smoothly and in constant communication with two ground control stations in Rangamati and Gazipur.