Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visits to Dhaka.The deal on Internet bandwidth export to India’s “Seven Sisters” states is expected to be signed during the visit of Sushma Swaraj.
Sushma Swaraj, India’s minister under the government of Norendra Modi who won a landslide victory last month, is expected to visit Dhaka soon.
“The parties are at the final stage of negotiation. Deal may be signed very soon,” Monowar Hossain, Managing Director of Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL).
BSCCL sources said they are preparing all the necessary documents and have drafted final agreement papers. In the mean time, on Wednesday BSCCL board approved the price range of the bandwidth for last moment bargaining with India’s state-owned telecommunication company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL). “The board approved a price for us with a very minimum range for bargaining, but it will not be wise to declare it now as the deal is not final yet,” Monowar Hossain said. According to the sources, the price approved is close to local price in Bangladesh.
As BSNL is taking a bulk amount of bandwidth (10Gbps) to the northeastern states of India, the price would be very marginal, said Monowar Hossain. BSCCL sources said it is expected India will take more than 100Gbps within a year or two when the second submarine consortium SE-ME-WE-5 will be connected with Bangladesh. The connection is scheduled to come by 2016. Primarily, the link will be established between Bangladesh’s Akhaura and Agartala point of India’s Assam. The company has also plans to connect it with Shillong point.
Currently, the BSCCL has 200Gbps (88MIU-km) bandwidth and Bangladesh can use only 32Gbps or 16% of it. In February the Bangladesh government decided to export the unused Internet bandwidth, following a request from India in July last year seeking 40Gbps bandwidth for their eight eastern states.