View Full Version : Bangladesh finally logs on to submarine cable

March 18, 2004, 07:07 AM
Signs deal with 12 other countries March 27
Daily Star Report

After four years of dilly-dallying, Bangladesh is finally signing on March 27 a submarine cable agreement with 12 other countries that will open a high-speed, low-priced internet and telecommunications gateway to the users from June 2005.

Bangladesh's entry to the 13-member consortium, SEA-ME-WE-4 in acronym, will slash internet and long-distance telephone call costs and greatly boost browsing speed. The county will have a 10-gigabyte data transfer capacity a second, 68 times more than the current capacity.

The capacity is considered adequate for the next 10 years and the submarine cable has a life of 15 years. State telecoms monopoly Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) and over 100 internet service providers (ISP) between them now have a 150-megabyte data transfer capacity each second.

"The BTTB alone commands 83-megabyte capacity," said a BTTB official, wishing anonymity. The ISPs will no longer have to depend on Singapore-based costly satellite data transfer, as BTTB will offer them with lease facilities.

The consortium -- South East Asia-Middle East-West Europe-4 -- seeks to begin the cable connection from Singapore running through Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, a number of middle eastern countries and will end in France.

The submarine cable link is also said to provide the infrastructure for large-scale software export and scopes for investment to establish IT-enabled value-added service e.g. call centre, tele-medicine, distance education at overseas universities.

The Executive Committee for National Economic Council (Ecnec) at a meeting yesterday approved a fund of Tk 40 crore, which constitutes 10 percent of Bangladesh's mandatory contribution to the consortium for project expenditure to launch the initial works.

The fund is to be disbursed by April 4. All consortium members are required to pay 10 percent of their own expenses by that time.

It will cost Bangladesh Tk 657 crore to implement the project and the government will arrange the fund. Dhaka has sought a $60 million credit from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) for the purpose, sources said.

The government conceived a project to have a private submarine cable link with Singapore via Chittagong in the late 1990s with its own fund. The project was originally designed for launch in September 2000, but foreseeable corruption, bureaucratic bottleneck and wrong planning, among other reasons, stalled the project.

The project was also envisaged at a cost of Tk 921 crore, nearly Tk 300 crore more than what Bangladesh has to pay once it ties up with the consortium.

"The idea of implementing the project through a consortium will be cost-effective," said a telecoms ministry official. The consortium will take care of the maintenance at a low cost and Bangladesh will have to make no additional spending to land its cable in the member countries.

BTTB believes government earnings from telecommunications sector will shoot up as it can raise the number of telephone circuits with the consortium members.

The tasks under the project includes construction of cable landing station, a 22,000-kilometre trunk route and 1,200-1,400-km branch route of submarine cable, installation of optical fibre link between Chittagong and Cox's Bazar along the highway, upgrading of the existing Chittagong-Dhaka optical fibre link, installation of optical link between Chittagong and Cox's Bazar over electrical grid line and other installations.

March 18, 2004, 08:28 AM
about time we connect to the rest of the world.

March 18, 2004, 09:20 AM
This was offered to BD government way early in the 90s without cost (full foreign investment). Government refused the proposal citing that BD doesn't need the line! India accepted the deal during that time. Look where we are now.

[Edited on 18-3-2004 by nasif]

March 19, 2004, 08:37 AM

March 19, 2004, 09:34 AM
Originally posted by Hasib


Hell yeah.... Mad stupid ..

[Edited on 19-3-2004 by Zunaid : words]

March 21, 2005, 10:55 PM
Sub-sea cable link plan rejected
Staff Correspondent

The Cabinet Purchase Committee yesterday rejected a proposal to award a contract to install an optical fibre link between Cox's Bazar and Chittagong that will hook Bangladesh to the global information superhighway on the grounds of corruption and price manipulation.

An unhappy purchase committee at a meeting also asked the telecoms ministry to re-tender the project.

The committee also asked authorities to punish officials who advocated the contract that could be sealed for Tk 17 crore less.

Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) last year wanted to award the contract to German company Siemens, the highest bidder in the project outlining a cost of Tk 47 crore. Canadian bidder Nortel offered the lowest bid at Tk 30 crore.

This means although an international consortium will finish the installation of the $0.5 billion South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe- 4 (SEA-ME-WE-4) submarine line by October -- delivering the connection at Cox's Bazar point -- Bangladesh will have to wait for six more months to reap the benefits.

"The committee was apparently angry at the ministry for wasting valuable time," said an official at Cabinet Division, seeking anonymity. The Cabinet Division on several occasions noted gross irregularities in the deal and sought the ministry's clarification on the way the deal was structured.

The committee yesterday observed that although the project's technical sub-committee announced the lowest bidder Nortel as 'responsive', the tender evaluation and re-evaluation committee pushed the highest bidder Siemens as 'responsive'. This was done despite the fact that one of the members on the evaluation committee had repeatedly expressed his reservations about the contract.

"The committee also observed that the BTTB violated the Public Procurement Regulation (PPR) in many areas. This is why the cabinet wants the BTTB to set clear-cut evaluation criteria during the re-tendering," the official said.

"The cabinet also wants the officials responsible for manipulation of the bidding to be punished."

The submarine cable project itself has already been delayed by more than four years. In March last year, after sitting on the project for four years, Bangladesh signed an agreement with a consortium of 16 international telecoms operators.

The submarine system will span around 20,000 kilometres across the eastern and western worlds to set an ultra-fast terabit per second connectivity. Bangladesh will get 10-gigabyte bandwidth, enough to match its next 10 years Internet and telephony demands. Presently, it needs about 150- megabyte bandwidth.

But to avail this infrastructure inland, the BTTB needed to install the fibre-optic cable network.

The state telecoms operator received a good price proposal in the bids floated early last year but it mysteriously took eight months to evaluate them.


March 21, 2005, 11:08 PM
yeah...i remember that...they said we don't need it...we could have travelled miles by now if the govt had taken it back then.

March 21, 2005, 11:34 PM
That was an horrible decision by our government.

Anywayz i hope this will be the beginning of a new era in BD IT sector which will in turn change the way of life.

March 22, 2005, 06:41 AM
If this means reliable broadband internet of T1 proportions, I might be thinking about going back to Bangladesh.

Speed beats everything.

March 22, 2005, 08:45 AM
yeah baby i might too. And it was nazmul huda's fat head that made the decision... that fat B is still an Minister of the current gov... stupid...
At that time i had only one wish.. Kick in his a*s..

I still have that..

March 22, 2005, 08:47 AM
I'll be happy if everyone gets 128 kbps down/up speeds at cheap rate.

I don't think we're going to get 1.5 Mbps and higher download speeds.

March 22, 2005, 09:29 AM
Free was not good for them. If there is no money transaction, what do you get to steal???

This time, since we are paying for it, its accpeted, as there comes the money train.

March 22, 2005, 10:17 AM
It wasn't free, I checked up on the news. The project would have been aided by foreign loan, which would have to be returned in future.

But I do agree that it was a big blunder by the Bangladesh government, we would have been miles ahead by now...
Originally posted by Orpheus
Originally posted by Hasib


Hell yeah.... Mad stupid ..

[Edited on 19-3-2004 by Zunaid : words]

Edited on, March 22, 2005, 3:17 PM GMT, by nayeem007.

March 22, 2005, 10:46 AM
That was a very horriblle decision.... It was free.....I wonder where BD will have been if htey accepted....

Its good they have it now. Make internet a little easier.

March 22, 2005, 10:59 AM
It was absolutely free at that time.

Edited on, March 22, 2005, 4:12 PM GMT, by chinaman.
Reason: I repeatedly requested to quote only the relevant parts instead of multiple level of posts. Next time, I'll have to delete the entire post.

March 22, 2005, 08:10 PM
Should've happened a long time ago. I guess politicians couldn't agree on a proper cut of the action.

April 2, 2005, 03:11 PM
Its in Bengali.

<a href="http://www.dailyinqilab.com/april3/pdf/n1.pdf">The ship, carrying the instruments, roobed by pirates</a>

April 2, 2005, 04:10 PM
no april fool please........

April 2, 2005, 04:22 PM
I think it's true!!

If it is, WTF?

April 2, 2005, 04:40 PM
Eita to kisuina (only 30 lakhs takar equipment) lets pray that the whole Submarine Cable doesnt get stolen :P
Legend (http://www.honda-wiki.org/wiki/Acura_Legend)

April 2, 2005, 05:53 PM
Its no april fool. What a crazy world we live in!

April 2, 2005, 06:11 PM
What is no april fool.. I cant read Bangla that well so i couldnt read the Rajpurto's link...

Please fill me in.

Ovi Khan
April 2, 2005, 06:34 PM
Originally posted by aka
What is no april fool.. I cant read Bangla that well so i couldnt read the Rajpurto's link...

Please fill me in.
The link says that the Ship carrying the Submarine cable was robbed by pirates.

April 2, 2005, 06:43 PM
It is true, no joke. I am ashamed and saddened by this event.

April 2, 2005, 06:48 PM
Ashamed? I don't think even "ashamed" expresses my real feeling. I feel disgusted. Ponero bochor deri kore ashlo, sheitao abar dakati. Gordobher dol.

April 3, 2005, 11:31 PM
prothom alo reported that the program is in doubt to ever be completed.

April 3, 2005, 11:43 PM

April 4, 2005, 12:59 PM
The specialised barge Swissco-12, tasked with laying optical fibre submarine cable to connect South Asia, the Middle East and Western Europe with the information super highway, will start its journey for Cox's Bazar today amid tight security.

The barge, which had earlier come under attack from pirates twice on Friday, is now preparing at the Chittagong Dry Dock jetty for Cox's Bazar, Captain Quamrul Hossain, a member of operation of the Chittagong Port Authority, told The Daily Star.

Cap Quamrul said the Navy and Coast Guard are actively concerned about the security of the specialised barge.

"Ansar will remain on board to ensure security until it [the barge] finishes its mission," he added.

A gang of 50 to 60 armed pirates attacked the Chittagong Port-bound barge twice on Friday when it was crossing the Kutubdia channel on its way to the outer anchorage. The pirates injured 27 crewmembers and looted goods of little value, including ropes, sources said.

Following the attack the barge, a Singapore flag carrier, was taken to the Dry Dock jetty on Saturday morning. Crewmembers at the time refused to sail with the ship to Cox's Bazar, citing safety reasons.

Sources yesterday said the Prime Minister Office (PMO) has taken the matter seriously, ordering the Ministry of Home Affairs on Sunday to provide sufficient security measures so that the ship can soon sail.

"As per the home ministry's measure, we are receiving 10 ansars, five members of the Armed Police Battalion and a patrol ship from the coast guard for our safety, and will leave Chittagong at 7:00 am tomorrow morning with them and hopefully reach Cox's Bazar before dusk," said Parvez Ahmed, the managing director of the barge's local agent, Mutual Shipping Lines Ltd.

Parvez told The Daily Star that the foreign crew and other staff are now happy and convinced with the measures taken by the government.

"I hope there will not be any further trouble," he said.

Fujitsu of Japan will install the 22.24 km-long submarine cable line on the seabed with assistance from Tyco Telecom of the United States of America and Otronix of South Korea.

The installation work, originally slated to begin today, will now begin on the morning of Thursday, April 7, after completion of a one-day field survey, and will take 15 days. Setting up a base landing station with all necessary equipment will require an additional two months.

Alcatel and Fujitsu will finish the cable laying by the middle of August to connect Bangladesh with the high-speed global telecom network by October 2005. Alcatel will set up the equipment at the landing station while Fujitsu will set up the transmission equipment at the branch line.

Bangladesh will receive $60 million from the Islamic Development Bank under an agreement signed between the two sides in February this year for linking the country to the submarine cable.

Bangladesh signed the 16-party consortium contract in Dubai on March 27 of last year for the transcontinental submarine cable, which will be around 20,000 kilometres long, including the main trunk line and branches, and cost about $500 million to install.

BTTB, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Italy, Thailand, Algeria, Tunisia and France, along with Indian private carriers Bharti and VSNL, are members of this consortium.

Edited on, April 4, 2005, 6:00 PM GMT, by reverse_swing.

April 4, 2005, 01:26 PM
Indian pirates may be!!!

April 4, 2005, 01:30 PM
yay!!! shows how far we've advanced in the IT/internet/E-Commerce fields recently...first the BCB website and now this! yay!!!:up::clap:

April 5, 2005, 07:03 AM
Originally posted by akabir77
yeah baby i might too. And it was nazmul huda's fat head that made the decision... that fat B is still an Ministar of the current gov... Stuiped...
At that time i had only one wish.. Kick in his a*s..

I still have that..

Bro, have a little wish as yours. so count me with you.
B***dy fool.

April 5, 2005, 10:47 AM
And its not just a bureaucratic problem; check out this statement made in the DS:

"The submarine system will span around 20,000 km across the eastern and western worlds to set an ultra-fast terabit per second connectivity. Bangladesh will get 10 gigabyte bandwidth, which is enough for the country's next 10 years internet and telephony demands. Presently it consumes about 150 megabyte bandwidth."

from: http://www.thedailystar.net/2005/03/29/d50329012721.htm

Please correct me if I am wrong, but I don't understand how our current consumption of 150 Mbps is seen as any barometer of our current demand. Econ 101 teaches you that supply and demand are not necessarily the same things :P

I would bet money that the 10 Gbps bandwidth will be put to pretty good use by the private sector and the usage will go through the roof - something that the authorities can't comprehend, let alone account for in their statements...

and 10 yrs - :duh:

April 5, 2005, 10:31 PM
I think they were telling bytes not bits. 10 Gbytes = 10 x 8 Gbits

Edited on, April 6, 2005, 3:31 AM GMT, by Spitfire_x86.

April 6, 2005, 05:31 PM
Originally posted by Spitfire_x86
I think they were telling bytes not bits. 10 Gbytes = 10 x 8 Gbits

Yup, thats what the article said. But since throughput is usually measured in bps, not Bps, I put bps in..

Either way, the point is still the same.

April 6, 2005, 07:48 PM
whatever it is bytes or bits. I hope it happens this time around

April 30, 2007, 12:45 PM
Bangladesh lost the opportunity to get the submarine cable. What a disastrous attempt by telecommunication board and put our country backwards.
source: http://www.ittefaq.com/get.php?d=07/05/01/w/n_zutzzz

April 30, 2007, 03:14 PM
Forget about what happened in the past. The past is the past. Imagine we spent all our time speaking about the BD defeat to Canada in the last WC rather than the very successful campaign that our team enjoyed in this world cup!

BD is growing. A big thanks to reverse swing for this article, as I felt it was essentially me and Imtiaz who were the two main lone forum members trying to promote a more positive image of BD and inject some more optimisim, confidence and self-respect into the forum members here. The consequences of improved internet connection are vast.

This increases BD communications and also has important social, economic and political consequences. Parties like the BNP and AL will have to be more careful for example as they will be dealing with a more educated and politically aware electorate and they have been thriving on our nations ignorance and poor communications.

Also on the internet we will probably be seeing more BD related websites and posters. Who knows maybe the membership of BC for example may grow by 5 times. Perhaps the BC staff should prepare for that if they start feeling this may happen.

Also for any of you who want to make money out of this, by starting up BD sites selling products, then go for it! This will benefit you and benefit our country.

April 30, 2007, 06:05 PM
Major loss for Bangladesh. The bureaucracy continues to be extremely sluggish and apathetic to progress. It is high time Bangladesh stops relying so much on Government effort for each and every little thing. It has slowed us down and hindered us more than anything. I dont want to sound like taking a free reigning capitalist side, but this is just sad. VOIP, although harmful for the national exchequer is being handled very poorly. BTTB is an inefficient corporation that is getting all sorts of privileges with these technologies over and over again, and it is us general consumers who are suffering from their wastage. Look at how even after being connected to one submarine cable, internally we have BTTB managing the optic fibre network which is down most of the time, priced ridiculously high for the ISPs and local subscribers, without any backup system. Same thing can be said about the Power plant tender process that has after the 3rd tender has been handed to ADB consultant for selection, etc. This backlog will hold us back, and will scare large scale foreign investment in Bangladesh more than anything. It is high time BTRC and all other regulatory bodies become fully independent from the Government. It was doing well under Mr. Syed Marghub Morshed two-three years back and gave us a lot of hope, but sadly no longer.

April 30, 2007, 06:50 PM
Bangladesh lost the opportunity to get the submarine cable. What a disastrous attempt by telecommunication board and put our country backwards.
source: http://www.ittefaq.com/get.php?d=07/05/01/w/n_zutzzz

My browser is not encoding the Bangla text properly, so I am unable to read the Ittefaq report. So are we or are we not accessing the submarine cable?

April 30, 2007, 07:16 PM
We lost the opportunity to join this new consortium:

17-member consortium to build fibre optic link to the United States (http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&ct=us/1-0&fp=46363474512c958a&ei=4IU2Rs25JqGoqgO9pNTqBQ&url=http%3A//www.manilatimes.net/national/2007/may/01/yehey/techtimes/20070501tech1.html&cid=1115785917)
Manila Times, Philippines - <nobr>2 hours ago</nobr>
A multinational consortium will build the first high-bandwidth optical fibre submarine cable system linking Southeast Asia and the United States at a cost ...

We are currently connected via: Sea-Me-We 4 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SEA-ME-WE_4)

April 30, 2007, 09:33 PM
Can anyone tell me whether our present submarine cable is working? Are we getting the desired bandwidth?

April 30, 2007, 09:52 PM
Can anyone tell me whether our present submarine cable is working? Are we getting the desired bandwidth?

Our present submarine cable is severely underutilised. It is being used by some private ISPs and companies, but not enough to utilise it fully, or in a sustainable way. 2 Major problems are: the internal fibre network between Dhaka and Coxs Bazar run by BTTB (not Bangladesh Railway) is down quite frequently.

Secondly, the BTRC/BTTB are charging a very high bandwidth price, which has made it unfeasible for many ISPs who have pre-existing VSAT contracts. They are mostly unwilling to pay the high connection fee and move to the submarine link given that they have paid a high amount for VSAT already before. And they are also put off by the fact that the link is unreliable and goes down so often. - All This is what I've heard, no finite sources sorry.

I've been trying to follow up on the Bangladesh Internet Exchange... which is encouraging but is beset by ISP Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB's) very sluggish response to customer demands. They are more involved with the technical aspects of running infrastructure and VOIP it seems, than offering value products to the end consumers. :waiting: (just check out their forum)

April 30, 2007, 10:07 PM
Impact of SMW-4 on Bangladesh (http://www.apnic.net/meetings/22/docs/apops-pres-sabir-bd-smw4.pdf)

A presentation by "Sumon Ahmed Sabir" from bdcom(?) for APNIC. Got it from Google. Corroborates a lot of what Ammark said.

May 1, 2007, 09:02 PM
Impact of SMW-4 on Bangladesh (http://www.apnic.net/meetings/22/docs/apops-pres-sabir-bd-smw4.pdf)

A presentation by "Sumon Ahmed Sabir" from bdcom(?) for APNIC. Got it from Google. Corroborates a lot of what Ammark said.

Thanks a lot both Ammar and Zunaid bhai for the information.

Can't imagine there are not enough people who know how to configure those gateway Routers and Switches in Bangladesh! They are having really tough time with this.I believe I would be handy in this job. Hope soon I will go back and help the beloved motherland.