Deja vu in Bangladesh: Inadequate capacity in national cable link makes SEA-ME-WE 4 ugrade meaningless

Posted on April 22, 2012  /  0 Comments

It was in December 2005 that I wrote the following in an op-ed in the Daily Star:

The SAT-3 cable did not increase Internet traffic from Africa, including Nigeria. Indeed, the year-on-year growth slowed in the year after the cable (71 percent in 2002 and 53 percent in 2003). In the case of Nigeria, one reason could have been delays in completing the national infrastructure necessary for full use of the cable.

While the landing station was completed in December of 2001 and the cable was inaugurated in May of 2002, the traffic started flowing from Nigeria only in April 2003. Those familiar with the repeated delays in contracting the “dry” segment of the cable from Cox’s Bazaar to Chittagong are likely to see the similarities.

Today, six plus years later, the Daily Star carried a story on how Bangladesh cannot benefit from upgrades on the SEA-ME-WE4 because the government-owned incumbent failed to make the necessary upgrades in the link from Cox’s Bazar.

The increased capacity of Bangladesh’s lone submarine cable is yet to come to any use as the Dhaka-Cox’s Bazar backhaul link of the cable was not upgraded accordingly.

The undersea cable has recently been upgraded to 85 gigabits per second from 40 gigabits before.

Monwar Hossain, managing director of Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd (BSCCL), said the capacity of the submarine cable was upgraded last week. Its capacity will cross 200 gigabits by September this year, he said.

“So the capacity of the backhaul link should also be upgraded soon,” he said.

The active capacity of the backhaul link, which transports data from Cox’s Bazar to Dhaka, is currently 30 gigabits, although its real capacity is 40 gigabits, according to officials at Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL).

Deja vu, all over again.

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