New submarine cables, terrestrial links set up for smooth internet

New submarine cables, terrestrial links set up for smooth internet
Licenses to be issued to private entrepreneurs

Mazharul Anwar Khan

The government has decided to issue licenses to private entrepreneurs for setting up, maintenance and running two submarine cables and three terrestrial fibre links in the country in a bid to make telecommunication and internet facilities easier.

A policy in this regard has been finalised under which the entrepreneurs will be able to collect foreign investment for submarine cable. But cent percent domestic investment is mandatory for the terrestrial link, said Bangladesh Telecommunication Regularity Commission (BTRC) sources.

Apprehending the necessity of alternative submarine cable, the government has taken the decision as the whole telecommunication and internet system, especially for global communication, collapse when the country’s lone submarine cable is cut off.

BTRC sources said the two submarine cables will be set up under the sea, having landing stations at Kuakata, Patuakhali, Barisal and Chittagong. Terrestrial fibre link has to be established between Dhaka and the landing stations.

In January this year, the BTRC published a draft policy on setting up submarine cables. The policy recommended that two submarine cable licenses will be issued to the private entrepreneurs.

The final policy, however, didn’t mention the amount of foreign investment required for the submarine cables although it mentioned that entrepreneurs will be able to collect maximum 40 percent foreign funds.

At present, the country has only one submarine cable. The government is mulling for one or two submarine cables since long as alternative option. The last caretaker government prepared a draft policy for the submarine cable.

Setting up of new submarine cables will help bring an end to illegal Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) operations in the country, said BTRC sources.

Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited has been formed to look after the country’s lone submarine cable.


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