Bangladesh has reached a new height in Internet communication and services as the government commercially inaugurated the second submarine cable with 1500-gigabit per second (gbps) bandwidth capacity.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina formally inaugurated the landing station at Kuakata and SMW-5 consortium submarine cable system through a videoconference from her official residence Ganobhaban on Sunday.
The longevity of the cable has been fixed at 20 years initially, which may go up to 25 years with its optimum maintenance.
Bangladesh now uses 180 Gbps bandwidth from its first submarine cable system, SEA-ME-WE-4, set up in 2006. Another 260 Gbps is imported from India.
Internet business entities will be able to enjoy greater benefits as there will be price cut in bandwidth import with the use of the second submarine cable.
The SMW-5 comprises of a core cable section that will pass through Singapore, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Italy and France.
Besides, there are several branch cable sections connecting Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, the UAE, Pakistan, Yemen, Oman and Turkey.
The total length of the cable, including core and branch sections is approximately 20,000 km. The Bangladesh branch section involves deployment of approximately 1900 km submarine cable from the main core cable section to the cable landing station at Kuakata.
Inaugurating the submarine cable and its landing station, the Prime Minister said the Internet speed will get a boost following the linking with the 2nd submarine cable while the people of the country's southern region will get its benefit, making the communication easier. "The second submarine cable will help people get better and speedy Internet connectivity a cheaper rate."
Hasina said she first got familiar with the 'submarine cable' from her son Sajeeb Wazed Joy.
She said the second submarine cable is a fulfillment of their stride that they had initiated after coming to power in 1996.
Mentioning that Bangladesh had earlier got the opportunity twice in 1991 and 1994 to get connected free of cost with the International Internet Gateway (IIG), she said, "But, the then ignorant BNP government didn't accept the offer on the excuse of 'leaking out' of the country's secret information. It's the best example how a country may face debacle under an inefficient government."
Noting that except a small part of Dhaka city, the entire country had been under the analog telephone system till 1996, the prime minister said, "Awami League has digitised the country's whole telecommunication system after coming to power in 1996."
She said her government has attached importance to the development of the country's southern part as it was neglected for a long time.
Calling upon people to protect the development works of her government, Hasina said the continuation of a government is very important for continuation of the development.
According to the posts and telecommunications division, there was no alternative submarine cable in the country other than the SMW-4 submarine cable and for that the government was actively planning to build a second submarine cable link.
With this objective, Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL), representing the government of Bangladesh, joined the SEA-ME-WE-5 (SMW-5) submarine cable consortium and signed an MoU along with other member companies on December 28, 2011.
Finally, Bangladesh signed the Constructions and Maintenance Agreement (C&MA) with the SEA-ME-WE-5 consortium on March 7, 2014. The DPP of the project was approved by Ecnec in May 2015 with an estimated cost of Tk 660 crore.
The SMW5 submarine cable system is a matchless, PoP-to-PoP, multi-regional data superhighway connecting South East Asia, Middle East and Western Europe. The SMW5 submarine cable landed in Kuakata in December 2016 and it was officially commissioned by the consortium in February 2017. The capacity of SMW5 is 24 Tbps out of which BSCCL will get 1,500 Gbps of bandwidth.