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India asks Bangladesh for cable 'transit'

Publication Date : 25-07-2012


The Indian government has asked Bangladesh for virtual transit so that it can connect Tripura with West Bengal and Chennai with cables and provide new voice and internet service routes.

India, however, did not clarify anything technical or cost or commercial feasibility or even how the connectivity would be made, said a telecom ministry official.

Telecom Secretary Sunil Kanti Bose said, “The Indian government has requested Bangladesh for terrestrial fibre-optic cable communication support on two routes. But it is not clear exactly how it will happen.”

The issue should be resolved bilaterally and the two technical committees of the countries should work together, said Sunil.

Recently, an inter-ministerial meeting was held on the issue and the telecom ministry proposed the formation of a committee, said the secretary.

On April 22, the Indian High Commission in Dhaka sent a letter to the foreign ministry of Bangladesh requesting terrestrial fibre-optic cable communication. A copy of the letter was also sent to the telecom ministry.

The high commission requested two fibre-optic cable routes through Bangladesh for voice and data transfer: one from Agartala of Tripura to Cox's Bazar to Chennai via submarine cable and the other from Agartala to Akhaura to Dhaka to Kolkata, according to the letter.

A ministry official said there were two ways to support India: Bangladesh could give terrestrial optical fibre link to India or Bangladesh could sell its own bandwidth to India.

Responding to a letter of the ministry, the state-owned Bangladesh Telecommunication Company Ltd (BTCL) informed the telecom ministry that it could provide 30 Gigabits per second (Gbps) bandwidth to India; 20 Gbps through Agartala-Cox's Bazar and 10 Gbps through Agartala-Akhaura-Dhaka-Kolkata.

The BTCL also said Bangladesh would have to lay 34-kilometre of optical fibre cable to provide India the bandwidth.

An official of Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd said if Bangladesh sold its own surplus bandwidth to the north-eastern provinces of India, it would create a huge business opportunity for the country. He said the Tripura and Assam governments had been asking to buy bandwidth from Dhaka for the last few years.

Currently, Bangladesh uses around 25 Gbps bandwidth, while the submarine cable has been upgraded to 200 Gbps capacity. But BTCL has not yet upgraded Cox's Bazar to Dhaka cable link to make full use of the capacity, said an official.


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