Bangladesh will provide 100 Gbps of Internet bandwidth to India. Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) has planned to deploy cross-border optical fiber cable, which will ensure cheaper wholesale Internet bandwidth to the seven northeastern Indian states.
The states of Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Naga Land, Manipur and Mizoram are popularly known as the “seven sisters”. India has been struggling with broadband deployment in this region being remotely located from the subsea cable lading stations (Click on the map).
Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram are adjacent to Bangladesh while the rest are at closer proximity. Therefore, BSNL has found that terrestrially plugging with Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Ltd (BSCCL) is the seven sisters’ best option of affordable Internet.
Such bilateral OFC links will connect the Agartala international gateway with Dhaka and the Cox’s Bazaar cable landing station in Bangladesh for accessing the global bandwidth.
The strategic bilateral telecom partnership was discussed by top telecom policy makers from India and Bangladesh at an internal meeting in Dhaka on July 30. Foreign ministry representatives of both countries also participated in the meeting.
Chauvinists are, predictably, critical at this initiative. Economic Times elaborates.
Once implemented, it will be a groundbreaking move to bolster international connectivity, through bilateral cooperation, between the two South Asian nations. Bangladesh has mitigated its risk of getting disconnected through six private terrestrial links across her western borders with India. The former is ready to reciprocate by plugging the latter’s northeast frontier with Internet.
Bangladesh is also ready to strengthen Myanmar’s cyber health. Myanmar has been struggling with the fragility of its international connectivity. Naypyidaw should, however, revisit the plan to bolster connectivity through India’s bandwidth-starved seven sisters (Slide #3 of this recent presentation). Myanmar’s terrestrial link terminating at Cox’s Bazar cable landing station in Bangladesh will have better latency. Let there be light though fiber across the borders.
Cross-border terrestrial fiber connectivity is commonplace in Europe and North America and it is also the default option in Latin America and many parts of South East Asia. The idea that this would be a waste of forex is odd, since, while the cable landing station itself could have been sourced with Indian rupees, the terminal equipment inside the station and the additional wet plant required to extend the cable system would have come from a supplier outside India and would likely be denominated in USD. Myanmar should look at improving its terrestrial connectivity with its neighbors as well as seeking a second redundant submarine connection rather than building its own satellite.