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Old June 8, 2006, 03:30 PM
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Shafin Shafin is offline
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Default Govt finalises broadband policy

Written by Zahedul Islam from NewAgeBD.com
Monday, 29 May 2006

The government has finalised a broadband policy, setting an ambitious target to connect every village with high-speed, broadband internet by the end of 2015.(New Age).
The policy, which was finalised in April by an expert committee formed by the government, stipulated that all government offices,
local government institutions, colleges, schools, public libraries, cultural centres, museums, post offices and archives will be connected to the broadband network by the end of 2015 as part of the long-term target set by the policy. The policy, placed to the posts and telecommunications ministry in April,

defines broadband as ‘always on’ data/internet connection which ensures a minimum bandwidth of 128 kbps.

‘The government will hold a national workshop on the policy to ventilate public opinion before sending it to the cabinet for approval,’ said an official of the ministry.

The policy has set immediate (by the end of 2007), mid-term (by the end 2010) and long-term (by the end of 2015) broadband penetration targets which stipulated that by the end of 2007, fifty per cent of the present dialup internet connections should be shifted to broadband connection, while all universities, medical and engineering colleges and research institutes in both private and public sector should be connected to broadband network.

The policy also said all ministries, divisions, attached departments, boards, corporations, semi-government and autono-mous organisations, commissions, statutory bodies and local government institutions up to district level, should be brought under broadband network.All colleges situated in the district headquarters should be connected to broadband while 25 per cent of high schools in the district HQs and 10 per cent of high schools in upazila HQs should be connected to the network by 2007 as part of immediate target.

By the end of 2010, all colleges situated in upazila headquarters, 50 per cent of high school in district HQs and 35 per cent of high schools in upazila HQs, should be connected to broadband internet, and 10 per cent of villages and all local government institutions up to upazila level should be brought under the network.

The policy said private sector involvement in broadband services and public-private partnership will be encouraged. Broadband deployment policies will be technology-neutral with respect to user/service providers’ choice among multiple broadband technology options.

‘All broadband access technologies will be given equal consideration, if technologically feasible,’ said the policy adding that users would have options as regards choice of service providers or operators.

The broadband technology options include various access technologies such as optical fibre technologies, digital subscriber lines, cable television network, satellite media and wireless broadband.

Investment in the local content development, broadband services and broadband-related equipment and use of open source software will be encouraged.

The policy also suggests fiscal incentives for broadband deployment which include provision of tax holidays, explicit and targeted subsidies, grants, pilot-project funding, low-interest loans or development funds for the manufacturers of equipment related to broadband services like DSL modems, wireless modems, cable modems, and local website hosting companies, local language content developers, and e-commerce providers.

The Bangladesh Telecommuni-cations Regulatory Commission will issue licence for providing broadband services to any entity meeting the regulatory terms and conditions set by the commission.

However, existing licensed internet service providers need not to be issued a new licence for broadband connections until expiry of the existing licence.

Regarding the tariff for broadband services, the policy said that liberalised tariff policies in the field of telecommunications would be extended to encourage broadband services at a minimum cost.
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Old June 8, 2006, 07:35 PM
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ammark ammark is offline
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2nd submarine cable beckons Bangladesh Govt needs to act fast on joining Asean-led information highway
Abu Saeed Khan

A rare opportunity has emerged to connect Bangladesh with a much-needed second low-cost submarine cable as seven leading Asean telecoms operators officially joined hands to deploy a transpacific undersea link to connect with the United States of America.
Besides acquiring extra bandwidth and directly accessing the USA, sources said, joining this predominantly multi-government submarine cable consortium will become an invaluable backup to the country's newly commissioned only submarine cable link, SEA-ME-WE4.

If Bangladesh joins the newly formed consortium, the country's telecoms and ICT industries will enjoy seamless overseas connection even if one of the two cables gets accidentally snapped underneath the sea.
Although Bangladesh is not an initial party to the new Asean-led submarine cable venture, diplomatic moves coupled with a sound business plan will give the country a fair chance to be in the team.

The opportunity became visible on Friday when Telekom Malaysia (TM) led the official formation of an initial seven-country consortium to build the Asia-America Gateway (AAG), an international undersea cable system, linking Southeast Asia with the US.

Responding to TM's invitation, key officials of AiTi (Brunei), CAT Telekom (Thailand), PLDT (Philippines), REACH (Hong Kong), StarHub (Singapore) and VNPT (Vietnam) gathered in Hong Kong and signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly develop a 20,000 kilometres long AAG submarine cable system. It will route between Malaysia and the US via Hong Kong, the Philippines, Guam and Hawaii with branches going to Singapore, Thailand, Brunei and Vietnam.

"We see growth for broadband in these countries, there's a big potential," says Telekom Malaysia's wholesale division's Chief Operating Officer (COO) Baharum Salleh. "While the price of bandwidth will continue to go down for sure, the usage will go up with VOIP and other developments catching on… now even tier two carriers are requiring VOIP and data."

Baharum Salleh said the project will introduce the much-needed diversity to many of the traditional submarine cable routes while at the same time complement other existing infrastructures of high bandwidth cable systems currently in place.

"This cable system is specially designed to support the burgeoning demand for voice, internet protocol, data and video traffic between Southeast Asia and the US," he told Bernama, Malaysia's national news agency.

Baharum Salleh believes the project has prospects of becoming a gateway to other locations in Northeast and Southeast Asia, India, Australia, Africa and Europe as it is designed to provide a high degree of interconnectivity with existing and planned high bandwidth systems.

"We are still discussing with potential investors to join us to further develop this project. Maybe one or two more parties," TM's COO commented to Bernama. He said it is too early to announce how much the project will cost but the finance will come from the consortium.

The proposed AAG cable system will use the latest dense wavelength division multiplexing (DWDM) technology with a minimum design capacity of 1.28 terabits per second. TM hopes to finalise the consortium agreement by this year's end and commence its deployment in the next year followed by commissioning of the cable in 2008.

"The Bangladesh government should move fast with bi-directional initiatives to utilise this rare opportunity," said a high official of Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) who has been deeply involved with the negotiation and implementation of SEA-ME-WE4 project. He dubbed the emergence of another submarine cable consortium in this region right after the completion of SEA-ME-WE4 project, a miracle.

Apart from Myanmar, Bangladesh is the only sea-accessing country in this region having only one submarine cable. It is a huge drawback for Bangladesh in the trading of international bandwidth as well as connectivity. Since SEA-ME-WE4 is the country's only submarine cable, BTTB cannot guarantee any level of availability. It compels leading ISPs and multinationals to maintain satellite links for backup support. This is a huge drawback of the country's new submarine cable system.

"Persuading the AAG consortium for membership is one important issue while simultaneously negotiating with Islamic Development Bank (IDB) for financing this project is another equally significant task," said the BTTB official requesting anonymity.

Bangladesh has two possible ways to get linked with the AAG network. A Thailand to Chennai link may be deployed if the consortium decides to connect India. In that case, Bangladesh may be connected through a branching unit at the middle of that link. Otherwise, Bangladesh may have to lay its own cable all the way to Thailand.

The BTTB official said the existing Cox's Bazar landing station is good enough to connect the AAG cable. Therefore, Bangladesh will pay only for the 'wet segment' of the new cable system. "The new AAG and the existing SEA-ME-WE4 will carry each other's traffic when either of the cables faces disruption," he said.

The BTTB official said IDB should not have trouble with financing the AAG cable project, as it will eliminate the operational risks of SEA-ME-WE4 cable, for which the bank lent US$60 million to Bangladesh. This amount is repayable in nine years through 18 semi-annual instalments with a one-year grace period at the floating rate of six-month LIBOR (London Inter-bank Offered Rate) plus 2.5 percent annual mark-up.

The BTTB official said when Bangladesh initiated dialogue with the SEA-ME-WE4 consortium in May 2002, the country had less than one million mobile phones and half a million fixed telephones. Today the mobile market alone has more than 12 million subscribers. "It will at least triple when the AAG cable system is commissioned in 2008 and that alone justifies the merit for Bangladesh to join this new consortium," he said.

The BTTB official, however, underscored the political commitment necessary to make it happen. "I am not sure how far the government will understand the significance of this vital issue ahead of the election in early next year," he said. "If we fail to join the AAG cable consortium, the country will miss the opportunity exactly the way it did in the early 90s by ignoring the SEA-ME-WE3 consortium," the official warned.
Source: The Daily Star, 6.6.06

Last edited by ammark; June 8, 2006 at 07:42 PM..
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Old June 9, 2006, 09:42 AM
bangla_amar bangla_amar is offline
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To any of our forum members in Bangladesh: Any of you guys getting the benefit of submarine cable? I have heard that some of the operators already got connected.
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Old June 9, 2006, 11:59 AM
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Bangladesh condition: As the ISP operators say... benifit of this Broadband connection won't be available for individual users for atleast few more years from now. Bangladesh have entered the higher bandwitdth yes... but the internal network infrastructure within the county is still not capable of taking advantage of this upgraded speed. So untill the whole network structure is upgraded... users will be getting more or less the same level of service.
Well...you only get one chance to make your first impression somewhere...!
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Old June 9, 2006, 02:37 PM
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Ahmed_B: my cousin subscribes to ZIP and apparently there has been a slight speed bump already. The speed almost doubled in the first few days according to him but it has sort of subsides now (although still better than what it used to be).
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Old June 10, 2006, 05:33 AM
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Ahmed_B Ahmed_B is offline
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C_B bhai.. end-user internet speed in BD is probably 20/30 times slower than what it should be...even for most broadband connections(specially at individual user level). So even a double increase in speed doesn't mean much. I'm not sure how much time it will take to upgrade the intermediate network-skeleton.. but untill that happens, general users probably won't get the benifit of optimum cable speed.
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