Draft licensing terms for new submarine cable operators issued

14 Jan 2010

The Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) has issued draft licensing guidelines for two new submarine cable licences, reports Commsday. The 20-year licences will permit construction and operation of undersea cables into the country, cable landing stations and a terrestrial fibre link to the capital, Dhaka, whilst licensees will have foreign ownership capped at 40%. Concessions include the right to sell or lease capacity to domestic holders of international voice/internet gateway licences as well as authorised international private leased circuit (IPLC) users. The licence acquisition fee has been set at BDT500 million (USD7.2 million), with an annual licensing fee of BDT250 million plus an obligation to share at least 10% of quarterly revenues with the government (with an exemption for the first twelve months of operation). Bidders will compete based on the proportion of their turnover they are willing to hand over to the state.

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that Bangladeshi international gateway operators currently have access to the SEA-ME-WE-4 submarine cable system via a single landing station located at Cox’s Bazar and operated by the Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd (BSCCL), which was spun off from state-run telco Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL) in July 2008. According to BSCCL, only 24% (10.7Gbps) of the company’s 44.6Gbps submarine capacity allocation is currently being used. Back-up connectivity is via satellite earth station/VSAT until an alternative submarine link is available. New submarine cable operating licensees will be required to build a system with a design capacity of at least two fibre pairs supporting a minimum of 64×10Gbps wavelengths (1.28Tbps), with initial lit capacity of at least 40Gbps. Cable facilities should be ready for service 18 months from the date of the concession award. Furthermore, each licensee should build a separate landing station within the general area of Khula-Patuakhali-Barisal-Chittagong, and should provide access, co-location and landing facilities to other submarine cable licensees, as and when required by the BTRC.



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