The Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL) board has decided to expand the country's third submarine cable, and invest Tk 1.73 billion more for it.
With the increase, its total cost for the South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe-6 (SEA-ME-WE-6) Consortium will be about Tk 8.70 billion from the initial Tk 6.93 billion.
The expansion will increase the capacity to 13,200 Gbps from 6,600 Gbps, BSCCL Managing Director A K M Habibur Rahman told The Financial Express.
He said as two parties, including one from Singapore, has shown interest to join the consortium, the BSCCL has decided to increase the capacity.
Bangladesh signed an agreement with the SEA-ME-WE-6 Consortium in last September for construction and maintenance of the third submarine cable.
According to the project proposal, the BSCCL, under the telecommunications ministry, will install the cable to connect with the proposed SEA-ME-WE-6 submarine cable by June 2024.
The submarine cable will run from Singapore to France, extending across the Mediterranean Sea through the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Red Sea.
The cable will have core landing stations in Singapore, India, Djibouti, Egypt and France. The Bangladesh branch will stretch to the cable landing station in Cox's Bazar through the Bay of Bengal.
The Planning Commission officials earlier said the country would receive a high bandwidth - around six terabits per second - to expand internet and telecommunications services.
They hoped that the additional bandwidth could be exported also. The lifespan of the first submarine cable is 20 years, which will end in 2025.
The 15 companies participating in the SEA-ME-WE-6 consortium include Singtel (Singapore), BSCCL (Bangladesh), Telekom (Malaysia), SLT (Sri Lanka), Dhiraagu (the Maldives), Ni2i (India), TWA (Pakistan), Djibouti Telecom (Djibouti), Mobilink (Saudi Arabia), China Mobile International, China Telecom Global Limited China, China Unicom, Microsoft (United States), Telecom Egypt, and Orange (France).
Work on implementation of the third submarine cable started in 2019.
Three proposals for laying submarine cables were initially shortlisted and approved at the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council's meeting in December 2020.
But due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the selection of suppliers by the consortium was delayed. As a result, the consortium's proposed activities, scheduled to be launched by December 2020, were also postponed.
Bangladesh first got connected with the SEA-ME-WE-4 in 2005, and then with the SEA-ME-WE-5 in 2017.
Besides supplying bandwidth to the country, the BSCCL is also exporting bandwidth to the neighbouring countries.
The BSCCL has signed a new agreement with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, a state-owned company of India, to export 10 Gbps bandwidth.