Monday, November 07, 2005 - Bangladesh Telecom

Bangladesh Railway earns Tk 210cr from fibre optic cable lease

The ailing Bangladesh Railway has earned up to Tk 210 crore in revenues till 2004 by leasing out its under-utilised fibre optic cable network to a mobile phone operator since 1997, say railway officials.

'The amount BR has earned so far is much more than expectation,' said a top official of the railway.

'The Railway earns around Tk 80 crore in 2004 alone from the fibre optic network,' said the official adding that a clause in the agreement which says that the contract would be reviewed time to time to re-negotiate the lease amount has paved the way for higher future revenues.

The BR installed the 1600 km fibre optic network in its railway tracks across the country in 1989 at the cost of Tk 140 crore with a grant from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation and subsequently leased the network to GrameenPhone for twenty years.

However, after taking over the network, GrameenPhone has increased the length of the cable to 2,000 kilometres at its own cost.

The Railway officials said that the lease money has increased gradually over the years due to a clause in the contract which stated that the lease money would be increased proportionately with the growth of GrameenPhone’s subscribers.

According to the officials, the next review will be done in 2007, on the tenth year of the contract, and there is a possibility to increase the amount further.

However, officials at the same time feared that as the amount of money has been increasing alarmingly in every review, GrameenPhone may terminate the contract as the mobile phone operator is also building up its own fibre optic network across the country.

The GrameenPhone also bears all maintenance of the network and the salary of the of the 209 railway employees of the fibre optic network.

Syed Yamin Bakht, general manager, information, of GrameenPhone, however, said that there is no plan to terminate the contract as the fibre optic network what GP is developing is redundant and for emergency use only in case of any disruption or failure of the Railway fibre optic network.

'I think the fibre optic network has helped GP to expand its network and coverage across the country,' said Yamin.

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home