Selling bandwidth is a good business created by the emergence of new telecommunication technologies. Investors putting their capital in building telecom infrastructures get a chance to recover their investment by selling bandwidth to their customers. Bangladesh government has recently approved a proposal to sign an agreement with its neighbor India to share the bandwidth of the submarine fiber optic cable system. For sharing the bandwidth, India will pay 1.2 million US dollars annually.
Development of modern telecom infrastructures and delivery of high-speed broadband services to the North-eastern states of India is a concern for India’s telecommunication planning and implementation Authorities. Having most of the landing stations located in its geographical southern and western states, laying optical fiber cables all the way to its eastern region is a tedious task. Delivery of high-speed services to these states through Microwave communication links will not yield quality. Network connectivity to international gateways through the nearest submarine landing point will be the best practical solution for India.
The state-owned Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd (BSCCL) is going to ink the deal with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) of India for supplying 10 gigabytes per second (Gbps) bandwidth to India’s north-eastern states on lease and commercial basis. The sharing bandwidth could be increased to 40 Gbps. Bandwidth sharing agreement is a Win-win strategy for Bangladesh and India. While it is additional revenue for Bangladesh for its unused extra fiber capacities, it is saving from infrastructure building cost for India.
Through the earnings, Bangladesh’s foreign currency reserve will swell up further. On the other hand, India will be benefitted from the deal, as the country would have to spend a huge amount of money had its north-eastern states brought the submarine cable from either from the South or Westen states. Bangladesh has been connected with SEA-ME-WE 4 submarine fiber optic cable network that stretches from France to Singapore.
The work on SEA-ME-WE 5 is underway, and it will be finished by December next year, which will further enhance Bangladesh’s potential to sell the bandwidth after meeting its domestic requirements.
The submarine cable capacity of BSCCL under SEA-ME-WE 4 is 200 Gbps, and with the launching of SEA-ME-WE 5, it will increase to 1. 5 Terabits per second. Currently, only 30 Gbps internet bandwidth is being used in the country and the remaining 170 Gbps remain unused. Out of 170 Gbps internet, BSCCL will export 10 Gbps to India, and 160 Gbps will remain unutilized.
The remaining 160 Gbps bandwidth is likely to be required for expansion of fiber optic networks up to union-level across the country. There will be no crisis of internet bandwidth, as Bangladesh is going to be linked with SEA-ME-WE 5 by December next year. The good thing about the agreement with India is that the salary of BSCCL officials and employees can be paid from one-fourth of the income of exporting 10 Gbps bandwidth. The deal will be in force for three years, and the submarine cable will start from Cox’s Bazar landing station and end at Agartala of Tripura (Indian State) through Akhaura of Brahmmanbaria.
Submarine cable link from Cox’s Bazar to Akhaura is already operational. BSNL will construct the rest of the cable link from Akhaura to Agartala. SEA-ME-WE 4 is a submarine fiber optic cable system that connects Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Egypt, Italy, Tunisia, Algeria, and France. The cable link, which provides the primary internet backbone among South-East Asia, Indian subcontinent, Middle-East, and Europe is around 18,800 kilometers long.
The new submarine fiber cable system, SEA-ME-WE 5 is under construction that will link Singapore and France through many landing points including Bangladesh on its route. The cable will be approximately 20,000 kilometers long and will have a capacity of 24 Terabits per second (Tbps) between South-East Asia, Indian subcontinent, Middle-East, and Europe. This network will connect Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Djibouti, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Italy, and France via 18 landing points. Construction has started in September 2014 and is scheduled to complete in December 2016.