State-run telco Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL) has received regulatory approval to purchase an international terrestrial cable (ITC) operating licence, the Daily Star reports. BTCL currently uses bandwidth on the country’s lone submarine cable, SEA-ME-WE 4, access to which is operated via another state-owned entity, Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd (BSCCL, spun off from BTCL’s previous incarnation Bangladesh Telegraph & Telephone Board in 2008), while the telco’s network also has access to other cross-border cable links on terrestrial routes. TeleGeography notes that India’s Bharti Airtel activated an international terrestrial fibre link last month which connects at the Petrapole (India)-Benapole (Bangladesh) border, while there is also fibre-optic cable connectivity on a route operated by Indian state-owned telco BSNL between Kolkata (in the neighbouring Indian state of West Bengal) and the district of Chuadanga (connecting at Darshana) in western Bangladesh (linked to BTCL’s network on the Bangladesh side), which was first agreed upon by the Indian-Bangladeshi telcos in November 2009 before being announced as ready for service in Q4 2010. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database says that in January 2012 six companies were licensed for operating ITC services – NovoCom, Asis-AHL JV, BD Link, Mango Teleservices, Summit Communications and Fibre@Home – which provide connections to Indian cross-border cables. Having applied for an ITC licence on 30 April, the new concession will permit BTCL to independently use and/or sell its own international internet bandwidth.
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