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Bangladesh signs agreement for third submarine cable connection

The government has signed an agreement with the South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe-6 (SEA-ME-WE-6) consortium for the construction of a third submarine cable.

Posts and Telecommunications Division Secretary Md Afzal Hossain, also the chairman of the Board of Directors of Bangladesh Submarine Company Limited (BSCCL), signed the deal at a Dhaka hotel on Thursday, according to media reports.

A similar agreement will be signed by the members of the consortium in Singapore by September 30.

The 15 companies participating in the SEA-ME-WE 6 consortium are Singtel (Singapore), BSCCL (Bangladesh), Telekom (Malaysia), SLT (Sri Lanka), Dhiraagu (the Maldives), Ni2i (India), TWA (Pakistan), Djibouti Telecom (Djibouti), Mobilink (Saudi Arabia), China Mobile International, China Telecom Global Limited China, China Unicom, Microsoft (United States), Telecom Egypt, and Orange (France).

Post and Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar, who was the chief guest at the program, said that the SEA-ME-WE 6 will make an unprecedented contribution to uninterrupted connectivity.

He was hopeful that the cable will be operational by 2024.

Media reports quoted Jabbar as saying that Bangladesh has lagged behind in the world of information technology for 14 years due to the then government’s refusal to accept a proposal for free submarine cable in 1992.

He said termed the third submarine connection as a historic achievement for the country and added that 110 million people have access to the internet, using 2,700 Gbps of bandwidth.

Meanwhile, BSCCL Managing Director Mashiur Rahman said that by 2024, the country will need more than 6,000 Gbps bandwidth.

He said that of the 2,700 Gbps international bandwidth Bangladesh currently uses, 1,650 Gbps is provided by BSCCL.

Bangladesh launched the first submarine cable in 2006 and the second in 2017.

Work to build the third submarine cable started in 2019. In December 2020, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council also cleared Tk693 crore for this. But the Covid-19 pandemic has delayed the work.

Besides supplying bandwidth to the country, the BSCCL also exports bandwidth to neighbouring countries. Dhaka Tribune

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