Indian giants seek telecoms corridor | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, September 05, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, September 05, 2009

Indian giants seek telecoms corridor

Want to connect seven sisters, offer an access to alternative submarine cable

Bangladesh can have access to an alternative submarine cable if it allows two Indian companies to build a fibre optic network to take low-cost telecommunication services to India's seven sister states.
Indian telecom giants-- Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications--have recently submitted a joint proposal in this regard to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).
If any deal is signed, Bangladesh can use the companies undersea cable network as an alternative to lone submarine cable SEA-ME-WE-4.
Experts think that such initiative can also relieve Bangladesh from repeated disruption of undersea cable, which inflicts a huge loss to the country's information and communication technology sector.
In line with the proposal the companies are Ready to strike a deal with any Bangladeshi fibre optic operator to provide telecom services to India's geographically disadvantaged states: Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh.
The two companies want to build a fibre optic link to Assam from Meherpur through Kolkata-Meherpur-Dhaka-Jaflong route with an option of an alternative route through Kolkata-Meherpur-Dhaka-Comilla-Agartala.
They are also willing to bring Myanmar under their network, subject to approval of the Southeast Asian nation.
The seven northeastern states now get telecom services through VSAT (very small aperture terminal) at a high price.
Bangladesh is yet to decide on the proposal. The BTRC however views that the proposed network would serve as an alternative to Bangladesh's lone submarine cable.
"The link if developed by a local company between India's mainland and seven sister states might work as an alternative network for us in case of disruptions to our lone submarine cable line," said a high official with BTRC.
"The Indian companies have already brought Pakistan, Nepal and Bhutan under their submarine cable network. If the proposal is implemented, we shall get connected with these countries and be benefited financially," said the official.
Internet service providers have welcomed the initiative and said there is no reason to hesitate over the proposal if the Indian companies give Bangladesh some customary benefits.
"If Bangladesh can get connected with the US, there should be no problem with seven sister states," said Akhtaruzzaman Manju, president of Internet Service Providers Association Bangladesh.
The proposed link might work as redundant submarine cable network and Bangladesh can also earn revenues, he added.
Reliance Communications having a reliable, high-capacity, integrated and convergent digital network began laying 60,000 route kilometres of a pan-India fibre optic backbone in December 2002.
The businesses at Bharti Airtel have been structured into three individual strategic business units - mobile services, Airtel telemedia services and enterprise services.
Airtel Telemedia offers broadband and telephone services in 95 cities and has recently launched direct-to-home service Airtel digital TV.

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