November 2, 2009

Alternative submarine cable route proposed

PMO urged to consider Mongla-Chennai route

The telecommunications ministry recently has urged the Prime Minister's Office to consider Mongla-Chennai route for connecting Bangladesh with an alternative submarine cable line.

The alternative undersea cable line from Mongla, Khulna to Chennai in India has been given preference as international submarine cable consortiums are available on the route.

"The proposed undersea cable line will connect Bangladesh with other parts of the world using the government's own fund," Sunil Kanti Bose, secretary of the ministry, told The Daily Star over phone yesterday.

He, however, said the donors may finance for this alternative submarine cable line.
The secretary said the private sector initiative would also be considered along with the government initiative.

"We also prefer the Mongla-Chennai route as it is more secured than other undersea cable routes," he said.

At present, three international submarine cable consortiums
are available in the sea in Chennai of India.

The government earlier has taken initiative to connect Bangladesh with an alternative submarine cable to relieve the internet users from repeated disruptions, the secretary said.

The country was linked to a submarine cable in 2006 at a cost of $35.1 million. The SMW-4 cable has a capacity to handle a 120 Gb bandwidth, of which Bangladesh currently subscribes to 24.12 Gb.

The country uses 23 percent of its capacity domestically. Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd handles the lone submarine cable. The existing cable landed through Cox's Bazar to Dhaka.

The demand for an alternative submarine cable has been raised by the internet based entrepreneurs in last few years. The government also had a plan to bring another submarine cable through private sector initiative.

As many as 60 lakh people are now using internet in Bangladesh. The internet penetration rate is 4 percent.


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