ISPAB discuss their concerns to MOPT about the submarine fibre optic cable

Date: July 5, 2005



Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh met with the Honourable Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Barrister Aminul Haque to discuss their concerns about the submarine fibre optic cable Connection and its impact on the ICT Industry.

During the meeting, the ISPAB leaders made some recommendations on the better management of the fibre optic undersea cable, which, according to the Honourable Minister, may be ready for hook-up by this December. The recommendations have been officially placed at the ministry today (July 6, 2005). The ISPAB Executive Committee had decided on the recommendations over a luncheon arranged by Bangladesh Online Limited. The cost of Internet access in our neighbouring countries is at least one-fourth of that in Bangladesh, according to Ershad Shafi Chowdhury, Chief Information Officer of Bangladesh Online Limited. In many cases, the cost of Internet access is even cheaper, so the ICT-enabled service industries in those countries are much more competitive than Bangladesh.

Chowdhury, also the General Secretary of Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB), said this while making a presentation on behalf of the Association before Post and Telecommunications Minister Aminul Haque at the Secretariat on Tuesday.

Telecoms Secretary Mahmud Hasan Mansur was also present.

ISPAB President, Akhteruzzaman Manju, stressed that industry participation in the management of the submarine fibre-optic cable was necessary for prevention of pilferage and ensuring a level playing field. He also explained the need for backup facilities on both the local and international route. “The recent communications breakdown in Pakistan illustrates the need for such a backup link”, he said.

ISPAB had recommended that the government build a backup fibre optic link ensure uninterrupted fibre optic cable services.

ISPAB urged the minister to form two committees on management and operations for proper utilisation of the undersea cable, and asked for representation of private stakeholders in the proposed committees.

The ISPAB members also requested that the government provide E1 lines -- telephone lines with higher volume of data transmission capacity -- to allow consumers with dial-up access to benefit more from the increased speed of the fibre optic connectivity.

They explained that the ISPs should be connected to submarine cable backbone with multiple E1/T1 lines or higher-capacity lines.

They also suggested to the minister that the IT policy should be geared towards promoting the full usage of 10Gbps bandwidth, 80 percent of which is projected to be unutilised.

The leaders also recommended two institutions that every country with a high speed Internet infrastructure should have. One is the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the other is the Bangladesh Network Information Centre (BDNIC).

The ISPAB expressed their thanks and gratitude towards the Honourable Minister for always keeping an open door and listening to their concerns. The ISPAB also noted that the Government has been supportive of the ICT Industry and that it is willing to work them for the progress of the nation.

The Honourable Minister agreed with the recommendations and pledged active consideration.

Bangladesh Computer Samity (BCS) President SM Iqbal, ISPAB Vice-president Md A Salam, Joint General Secretary Sumon Ahmed Sabbir and Executive Members Syed Faruque Ahmed and Zain Omar were, among others, present.