Vol. 5 Num 703 Mon. May 22, 2006  
Front Page

Bangladesh logs on to submarine cable
PM opens Cox's Bazar landing station

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia yesterday inaugurated the submarine cable at its landing station opening up a new vista of opportunities for providing the cheapest ICT services in all sectors.

The commissioning of the new submarine cable is a landmark in the country's telecommunications and information communication technology sectors, as it will tremendously enhance the performance and capacity in the fast-emerging knowledge economy.

"From today Bangladesh is going to be connected with the global information super-highway," the prime minister declared at the groundbreaking ceremony at the seafront resort Jhi Long Ja.

Ministers, MPs, elite, diplomats, development partners and foreign telecom experts were present at the ceremonial inaugural function.

She said it was essential for Bangladesh to be connected with the global information super-highway through the submarine cable to ensure faster growth of the information technology.

To get the full benefit of the submarine cable, work is now going on to extend the telecommunications network across the country through the high-capacity fibre optic and microwave links, which will greatly improve telecommunications systems, she added.

Bangladesh earlier signed an agreement with 12 other countries under a consortium in 2004 for installing the submarine cable underneath the seabed at a cost of Tk 628 crore.

The South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe-4 project connects the country with undersea fibre-optic cable passing from Singapore through Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and a number of Middle-Eastern countries to finally land in France.

Now the country will have a 10-gigabyte data-transfer capacity per second, 68 times higher than the current speed.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia said that this submarine cable would facilitate high-speed data and voice transfer and also increase the number of international communications circuits that will ultimately lead to an enhancement of revenue for the government.

"The country will also have a scope for earning huge foreign exchange through leasing out the unutilised capacity of the submarine cable," she told the function.

The prime minister said the submarine cable project would create the opportunity for introducing broadband data-transfer and call-centre services at a very cheap rate, while the cost of software production for export, e-governance, e-commerce and tele-medicine services will also decrease.

Through video conferencing, reputed international doctors will have the scope for helping Bangladeshi doctors diagnose ailments and conduct treatment or operations, she added.

Khaleda Zia also expressed hope that this new technology would give the nation an immense opportunity in facing the challenges of the new century as well as play an important role in exchanging information across the world in an easy and faster way.

She said the telecommunications and information-technology-based services are earning huge revenues for the national exchequer and are also playing a positive role in socio-economic development of the country.

The prime minister informed the function that the present government has already taken a massive initiative to promote software industry and make telecommunications and information technology easily available for all.

Soon after assuming power, she pointed out, the government formed the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission to modernise and develop country's telecom sector.

Post and Telecommunications Minister Barrister Aminul Huq, State Minister for Communications Salahuddin Ahmed and local MP Shahiduzzaman also spoke on the occasion.