Our independence comes with a division of lands, and worst happened to north east as connecting to these states from main India is always troublesome. So is north east’s communication system, mostly managed by state owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL). North east states are connected via cable from Kolkata & Siliguri traversing through hilly areas and often affected by natural calamities. Satellite internet is strictly regulated in India, and costly. In these areas microwave based backhauls are also weak due to geographical barriers.
However the issue of low bandwidth & poor internet connectivity in North East will soon to be a word of past. In early 2014 Indian Government has started the talks with Government of Bangladesh to lease their unused bandwidth for India’s 7 north eastern states – Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram. BSNL officials visited Bangladesh few times and in May 2014 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in this regard.
However the deal was delayed as it required an approval from cabinet of ministers headed by Bangladesh PM Shekh Hasina. The final hurdle was cleared yesterday. Following the meeting, cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hussain Bhuiyan told in a press event, “The state-owned BSCCL is going to ink the deal with BSNL under which Bangladesh would supply 10Gbps bandwidth to India on lease and commercial basis. The export capacity could be raised to 40Gbps.”
Deal will be inked by May and if everything goes right connectivity will be started in between by July this year.
Initially BSNL will lease 10Gbps bandwidth from Bangladesh’s lone submarine cable operator, Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL). A fiber cable line from Coxbazar landing station through Akhaura under Brahmanbaria district to Agartala, capital of Tripura will carry this bandwidth. BSCCL expects $1.2 million revenue from this export of bandwidth.
Further 30Gbps bandwidth will added on in coming months with another two connecting points to Shillong and Assam.
In 2016 Bangladesh will be connected to submarine consortium SEA-ME-WE-5 with enormous bandwidth holding capacity. Digital India’s demand for more bandwidth can be met by leased of 100Mbps bandwidth from BSCCL in next years.