Agartala, May 14: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has signed an agreement with Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL) to buy bandwidth for the northeastern states.
Initially, 10 Gbps (Gigabits per second) bandwidth will be supplied to Agartala, Silchar and Aizawl and then the supply will be widened to cover other states of the Northeast in a phased manner.
Chairman-cum-managing director, BSNL, D.P. Singh, signed an agreement in this regard with his BSCCL counterpart in Dhaka on Monday. The deal will allow BSNL to provide faster Internet speeds in the region.
BSNL sources said the price of initially supplying 10 Gbps bandwidth has not been fixed yet but Bangladesh is likely to demand around Rs 1.5 crore.
“According to the understanding reached at the meeting, bandwidth of 10 Gbps will be made available to Agartala in Tripura, Silchar in Assam and Aizawl in Mizoram through Akhaura, west of Agartala, within the next six months. But gradually the quantum of supply will be increased to 40 Gbps to cover the rest of the Northeast,” a senior BSNL official here said.
The agreement has been signed for three years but there is scope for renewing or extending the agreement, he said. “Internet speed mainly depends on bandwidth and experience has shown that bandwidth from submarine cables is much faster than that from satellites. This is where Bangladesh comes into the picture because of its bandwidth availability from submarine cables,” the BSNL official said.
The BSNL delegation met officials of the Bangladesh telecom ministry and BSCCL and arrived at the agreement. According to estimates by Bangladesh, BSCCL can annually earn Rs 4 crore by supplying 40 Gbps bandwidth to the Northeast.
Currently, Bangladesh possesses high-speed bandwidth of 200 Gbps but it requires only 30 Gbps of this bandwidth. So, the surplus can be supplied at reasonable international prices to neighbouring countries and India’s Northeast is the obvious first choice as customers.
“Till 2021, Bangladesh will be in a position to supply us bandwidth. This will help the Northeast,” the BSNL official said.
In the meeting, the BSNL CMD also displayed a keen interest in tele-transit of bandwidth between India and Bangladesh. “BSNL’s calculation is that if tele-transit facility is available, India will be able to ensure outreach of bandwidth from the western part of the country to the eastern part, specially the Northeast. Singh also stressed that both Bangladesh and the Northeast should be part of a network connecting Myanmar and Afghanisthan. This larger issue can be settled only if the Bangladesh government agrees to this,” the BSNL official said.