The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BSNL scouts for gateway

Malda, Sept. 17: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) has decided to enter the communication market as an international long-distance operator with one of its gateways being located on the coast of Bay of Bengal ' Digha, Kakdwip or Frasergunje.

The chief general manager of BSNL's West Bengal telecom circle, Samar Chakraborty, said here today that though the proposal to enter multi-media international communication is at a nascent stage, the company is serious about the issue. He said, at present, Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited is the only company operating in the arena of international long-distance communication.

'The gateway will be located on the coast from where fibre-optic cables will be laid along the sea-bed for connectivity to South Asian countries. This is a huge task and global tenders will have to be floated to get the job done,' Chakraborty said. 'Once this is done, all types of electronic communication like audio and video transmissions can be made via the BSNL's 'landing station' or gateway,' he said.

Chakraborty also announced that BSNL mobile phone users would soon be able to enjoy multi-media messaging services. 'They will also be able to access their bank accounts via their handsets,' the chief general manager said.

Chakraborty today signed a memorandum of understanding with Gour Grameen Bank, which operates from Malda, Murshidabad and the two Dinajpurs. All branches of the bank will now accept payment of BSNL bills for landlines, mobile phones and Internet usage.

'Bengal can score over Hyderabad over IT investments as there are 1,500 optical-fibre cable points in the state through which all manners of e-data can be transferred. We have already provided all-India roaming facilities to our mobile users along with connectivity to 160 countries,' the chief general manager said.

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