SEA-ME-WE 5

Typography

Bangladesh is going to connect its second submarine cable to get another 1500Gbps bandwidth, as the SEA-ME-WE 5 consortium is set to connect its global operation to Bangladesh. The South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 5 (SEA-ME-WE 5), a consortium of 15 telecom operators from 17 countries, shared the news at a ceremony in Istanbul, Turkey.

Monwar Hossain, Managing Director of state-owned Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL) which is assigned to handle country bandwidth, said it's a great pride for Bangladesh as the consortium decided to launch the cable on February 21, the International Mother Language Day.

"The second undersea cable would be the real redundancy that might allow Bangladesh to stay online always and start full-fledged international bandwidth trade," he said. Mentioning that Bangladesh has now nearly 300Gbps bandwidth from its lone submarine cable, Monwar said, "We are going to get another 1500Gbps bandwidth from the second undersea cable."

Officials familiar with the project, however, expressed skepticism that Bangladesh may not be able to reap the bandwidth from the opening day because of linkage between capital Dhaka and the landing station of SEA-ME-WE 5 in Patuakhali. But, the BSCCL Managing Director was optimistic that the linkage with the landing station would be completed in stipulated time by the assigned organization.

Bangladesh joined the SEA-ME-WE 5 consortium in March 2014 spending Taka 660 crore. Of the total cost, the government has provided Taka 166 crore while BSCCL has contributed Taka 142 crore and the remaining Taka 352 crore has been collected as loan from the Islamic Development Bank.

The country got its first submarine cable connection -- SEA-ME-WE-4 -- in 2006. SEA-ME-WE-4 has already passed more than half of its lifespan and that is why Bangladesh needed to connect with another cable before 2025. At present, neighboring country India has eight connections, Pakistan four and Sri Lanka three.

The SEA-ME-WE 5 Consortium signed an agreement in Kuala Lumpur on March 7, 2014 to build a state-of-the-art undersea cable. The SEA-ME-WE 5 cable will span approximately 20,000 km, connecting 17 countries through Points-of-Presence (POPs) from Singapore to the Middle East to France and Italy in Western Europe, with a system capacity of 24Tbps.

The cable has connected Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Djibuti, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Italy, Turkey and France via 19 landing points.

Initially, the lifespan of the cable is set at 20 years but it could be extended by five years. Apart from the BSCCL, the SEA-ME-WE 5 consortium includes China Mobile International Limited (CMI), China Telecommunications Global Limited (CTG), China United Network Communications Group Company Limited (CU), Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company(Du), Orange, Myanmar Post and Telecom (MPT), PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin), Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Singapore Telecommunications Limited (SingTel), Sri Lanka Telecom PLC (SLT), Telekom Malaysia Berhad (TM), Telecom Italia Sparkle (TIS), TOT Public Company Limited, and Yemen International Telecommunications Co. (TeleYemen).