Second undersea cable to come in three years

http://www.thedailystar.net/newDesign/news-details.php?nid=216304

Second undersea cable to come in three years
Abdullah Mamun

The country is going to see the second international submarine cable within three years as the state-owned Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd (BSCCL) has recently signed a deal to join a consortium of more than 16 countries.

The project of the consortium styled SEA-ME-WE 5 (South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe 5) is an international undersea optical fibre cable that provides internet connections and will connect Bangladesh with international information highway.

After taking the finance ministry’s consent, the telecommunications ministry gave its approval to the state-run company to join the consortium, according to an official of the telecom ministry.

The second submarine cable will follow the route of the current SEA-ME-WE 4 cable and will reach Japan via Hong Kong, said Monwar Hossain, managing director of the state company.

The project will be completed by 2014 at a cost of Tk 450 crore, said Hossain, adding that an international bid will be floated in July.

The BSCCL will invest Tk 200 crore and collect the rest from international agencies or financial institutions. However, the government will not guarantee the BSCCL loans as it has a fund crisis, said the ministry official.

Hossain said the state-run company has the capacity to operate the new submarine cable as it has the experience of operating the existing one. “Moreover, the company has its own landing station.”

Currently, Bangladesh is connected with the information highway with its only submarine cable SEA-ME-WE 4.

In 2004, Islamic Development Bank funded the project of SEA-ME-WE 4 cable from France to Singapore.

Meanwhile, the government has approved six licences for setting up international terrestrial cables connecting the country with the world via India.

The cables to go through Meherpur, Benapole, Sylhet and Comilla borders will provide a route alternative to the sub-sea connectivity.

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