BTTB stalling on international cable expansion opportunities

20 Apr 2006

Sources in the international consortium for the SEA-ME-WE-4 international cable system told Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star that national telco the Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) has declined an offer to participate in a capacity expansion scheme being undertaken by three of its 16 members. Singapore’s SingTel, alongside India’s VSNL and Bharti, opted to increase bandwidth allocations, but a BTTB official said the option was not taken up because its present bandwidth allocation is ‘adequate for the next ten years’. The submarine link is functioning on a test basis, and, once fully operational, Bangladesh will get capacity of 10Gbps, 68 times the present capacity. Analysts pointed out that if the BTTB does not need extra bandwidth for local purposes, it can sell or lease it out to international communication companies, and the cost of expansion would be low because the basic cable system is already in place. All SEA-ME-WE-4 members except Bangladesh are already earning revenue from the cable. The Bangladeshi landing station is likely to be launched commercially before the end of this month following delays. To run the international cable service commercially there are plans afoot to set up a state-owned entity independent of BTTB.

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