Bangladesh simultaneously exports and imports Internet bandwidth to and from India. Its geographic location and state of international connectivity have contributed to this interesting scenario. The first submarine cable (SEA-ME-WE4) was landed at Cox’s Bazar in 2005. This facility of Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company (BSCCL) has dramatically improved the country’s overall international connectivity. Yet, the industry remained nervous about outages due to maintenance or accidental snapping of SEA-ME-WE4.
BSNL has been favored child, being fed enormous subsidies and fees by different governments in power in India. But it appears the hunger is insatiable. BSNL and MTNL have not been compensated by the government for the spectrum they surrendered three years ago. The Forum has also demanded that a payment of Rs.1,250 crore be made to BSNL, a sum already sanctioned in lieu of the discontinued subsidies and the Access Deficit Charge (or ADC, envisaged as a cross subsidy by private mobile operators for use of landline services run by BSNL), which was discontinued in 2008 on a recommendation by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
We predicted this would happen if BSNL continued to be in the driver’s seat. In what could be another blow to the broadband dreams of millions, the deadline for rolling out national optical fiber network (NOFN) across all 2.5 lakh village panchayats has been extended by two years by 2018, according to sources close to the government. “The project will be now completed by 2018, instead of 2016,” the sources said. The national Optical Fibre Network (NOFN), which will play a crucial role in government’s Digital India program, was initiated in 2011 with an aim to provide broadband connectivity to over two lakh (200,000) gram panchayats of India at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore ($4 billion).
I have been inclined to give the new administration the benefit of the honeymoon period, but surely this is nuts. The previous administration placed all its eggs in the BSNL basket and got egg in its face for its pains. Not only did they extract enormous amounts as fees, they delayed procurement and did not give INC anything ICT to talk about during the election campaign. Now the BJP is going on that same well-trodden path: The telecom department is aiming to complete setting up of a pan-India optic-fibre network by June 2016, a year ahead of the stated schedule of the project that is critical to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Digital India’ initiative. The Department of Telecommunications has sought the views of public-sector telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd whether it can complete the National Optical Fibre Network ( NOFN) project by then, according to an internal note seen by ET.
Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited, (BSCCL) has signed an MoU with BSNL as a first step to export IP Transit bandwidth to the northeastern states of India across the eastern land borders of Bangladesh. Initially BSNL will procure 10 Gbps bandwidth from Bangladesh and a three-year agreement will be signed very soon. This February, the Bangladesh government decided to export the unused internet bandwidth, following a request from India in July last year seeking 40Gbps bandwidth for eight eastern Indian states. The BSCCL had earlier projected a monthly earning of around Tk4.83 crore ($643,000) from the export of 40Gbps bandwidth; but the MoU for only 10Gbps bandwidth brought down the estimated monthly earnings to only Tk1.
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.
Sri Lanka and Pakistan partially privatized their incumbent fixed telecom operators more or less at the same time competition was introduced. India, Bangladesh and Nepal did not. Bad move. The lumbering monsters could not compete. The sad state of the Indian incumbents who have been fed more subsidies than it is possible to imagine is thus described.
Today at the IITCOE workshop Ashok Jhunjhunwala made a strong argument that the Indian government must hive off the backhaul networks of BSNL and have them be managed by a separate company. Interestingly Masayoshi Son, the Japanese entrepreneur has made more or less the same argument in Japan. Great minds think alike. The government is expected shortly to unveil a scheme to loop the country with fibre-optic lines that will support internet access at up to 100 megabytes a second, ten times the speed of the technology being replaced. Mr Son argues that to guarantee fair access to this network—and thus the most efficient use of it—it should be run by an infrastructure firm hived off from NTT, owned jointly by all the telecoms operators.
The Business Standard, 27 January 2009 The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with state-owned telecom operator Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) to provide wireless broadband in rural areas. Under the MoU, BSNL will provide wireless broadband at 29,000 rural exchanges throughout the country. Each exchange will have 31 connections along with one kiosk for public use. A DoT official said, “Out of these 31 connections, 6 will be used by institutions like schools, while the rest will be for individual users.” The implementation of the entire project is expected to be completed by 2011.
While the likes of Reliance and Tata are racing to add national GSM-based services to their existing CDMA portfolio, BSNL is doing other way around by planning the launch of CDMA networks across all major Indian cities. “After our application for a full-fledged CDMA mobility licence is approved, we plan to roll out CDMA services in all major cities and towns. The initial investment will be about $500 million,” BSNL managing director Kuldeep Goyal said. Read more. Interestingly, Telus of Canada is spending $500 million to migrate from CDMA to GSM early this year.
At the Delhi Indicators Meeting earlier this month, there was discussion about how one would count the lifetime free subscriptions being offered in India. The following excerpt from Business Today, may shed some light on this new product: “However, there’s more to lifetime offers than meets the eye. First, call charges at Rs 1.99 per minute for local and Rs 2.99 per minute for STD are not necessarily low.