Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dhaka to give India telecom transit rights

Bangladesh has, in principle, agreed to provide India telecom transit through the state owned submarine cable operator. The decision was made after a high level delegation from India approached the Bangladesh government for providing telecom transit to the North Eastern countries through Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL), the custodian of the lone fiber optic cable SEA-ME-WE-4, senior officials of the ministry of Post and telecommunication (MoPT) told The Independent on Tuesday.

The transit would be provided through the surplus bandwidth as almost two thirds of the country's allocated bandwidth through the submarine cable SEA-ME-WE-4 remains unused, Haslul Mahmud Khan, joint secretary of the MoPT said.

Khan informed that last year, a high level delegation from Assam, led by a member of the state legislative assembly (MLA) visited Bangladesh and discussed with MoPT about providing telecom transit through the BSCCL.

BSCCL managing director (MD) Monwar Hossain said that currently the mobile and internet connectivity of northeastern states of India are laid through the 'chicken neck' (a narrow strip of corridor ) from Mumbai and Chennai (two entry points of SEA-ME-WE-4).

"As India can save a lot of money by laying the telecom connectivity between Agartala and Dhaka via Akhaura in Bangladesh and between Sabroom in south Tripura and Cox's Bazar in Chittagong where the SEA-ME-WE-4 enters Bangladesh", he said.

MD of BSCCL said that through this connectivity Bangladesh would be benefited as it will be able to make use of its unused bandwidth and earn a lot of money in foreign currency.

Meanwhile, according to a PTI report, RK Upadhayaya, managing director of Indian state owned telecom company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) told reporters in Agartala on Monday that the company was planning to set up telecom connectivity through Bangladesh for North Eastern region of the country due to tough terrain and geographical isolation.

"Ministry has attached much importance to consolidating telecom network in NE region and we are interested in setting up an alternative route through Bangladesh due to tough terrain," BSNL Chairman and Managing Director R K Upadhayaya said.

Connectivity would be set up between Agartala and Dhaka via Akhaura in Bangladesh and between Sabroom in South Tripura and Cox's Bazar in Chittagong in Bangladesh to provide smooth telecom connectivity, he told reporters at Agartala.

Upadhyay was in Agartala to discuss with the Chief Minister, Manik Sarkar about the development plans in Tripura and the region. The government has planned to extend OFC to 25,000 panchayats across the country to provide broadband services, he said.