Sunday, May 21, 2006 - Bangladesh Telecom

Submarine cable opens today - Bangladesh to join global information superhighway

Bangladesh embarks onto the global information superhighway today (21st May) as Prime Minister Khaleda Zia is scheduled to inaugurate the submarine cable at its landing station at Cox's Bazar coast.

The commissioning of the new systems sets a landmark in the country's telecommunications and information communication technology sector as it will tremendously enhance the performance and capacity in this field, said officials of the Telecommunications Ministry.

They viewed that the capacity of telecommunications and data transfer would be greatly enhanced from the present level, giving a high-speed, low-priced Internet and telecommunications gateway to the users to catch up with the fast-moving world.

Bangladesh earlier signed an agreement with 12 other countries under a consortium in 2004 to implement a mega-project at a cost of Tk 628 crore for installing the submarine cable down the seabed.

The consortium called South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe-4 was formed to implement the project for connecting the country with undersea optical fibre passing from Singapore through Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and a number of Middle-Eastern countries to finally land in France.

Now the county will have a 10-gigabyte data-transfer capacity a second, 68 times higher than the current speed, the official said about the benefits the nation is going to reap-though a bit late.

Earlier, Bangladesh had missed the bus to get onto the information superhighway by not joining the group when the submarine cable passed through the Bay of Bengal.

The capacity is considered adequate for the next 10 years and the submarine cable has a life of 15 years.

The state-owned Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) and over 100 Internet service providers (ISP) now have a 150-megabyte data-transfer capacity per second, the officials claimed.

Also, the submarine cable link is going to provide the infrastructure for large-scale software export and scope for investment in the knowledge economy.


Submarine link opens today but not for users

On the eve of the inauguration of submarine cable system that will connect Bangladesh to the information superhighway, the ISP Association of Bangladesh yesterday expressed its concerns that due to lack of local infrastructures, the country's 25 lakh(2.5 Million) internet users will face major disappointments.

The country has not prepared any network to support the use of this high bandwidth which will be available with the submarine cable. The country has not even decided when this network will be set up or completed.

Akhtaruzzaman Manju, president of the association, said the country may be deprived of the benefits of having this cable system because till date the government has not fixed a "bandwidth policy", or fixed a price for availing the bandwidth to the Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

The BTTB has not set up collocation facility in all of its exchanges. The country has not also determined any backup for the submarine cable system.


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