Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company (BSCCL), the state-run listed company, is going to invest $3.2 million to upgrade the capacity of its first submarine cable by more than four times.
"The board has approved the agreement of $3.2 million (excluding VAT/Tax) between the SEA-ME-WE 4 submarine cable consortium and the supplier to enhance the capacity by 3,800 billions of bits per second (GBPS) of Bangladesh Submarine Cable," said the company in a filing with the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) on Sunday.
Bangladesh is a member of the South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 4 (SEA-ME-WE 4) consortium.
The total bandwidth capacity of SEA-ME-WE 4 of the company will be 4,600 GBPS after successful completion of the upgradation process, according to the filing.
"The upgrade will be completed by next year," said an official of the company.
BSCCL is the core submarine cable internet bandwidth provider in Bangladesh, which is permitted to connect the country with the rest of the world through undersea cables.
The move from BSCCL comes as the bandwidth consumption witnessed a remarkable rise since the pandemic amid the increased use of digital platforms to conduct official tasks and meetings due to Covid-19.
To meet the growing demand, the company has decided to increase the bandwidth capacity, said the official.
The bandwidth use surged to 3,440 GBPS in March this year, up from 1,000 Gbps before the pandemic, according to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC).
About 650 GBPS is supplied by BSCCL through the SEA-ME-WE 4 consortium, the first undersea cable with which Bangladesh was connected in 2005.
BSCCL supplies another 1,400 Gbps through the country's second submarine cable, SEA-ME-WE 5. The connection was established in 2017.
The rest comes from India through seven international terrestrial cable service providers, with private firms Summit Communications bringing in 700 Gbps and [email protected] 300 Gbps.
In April this year, the BSCCL board also decided to expand the country's third submarine cable, and invest Tk 1.73 billion more for it.
With the increase, its total cost for the South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe-6 (SEA-ME-WE-6) consortium will be about Tk 8.70 billion from the initial Tk 6.93 billion.
The expansion will increase the capacity to 13,200 Gbps from 6,600 Gbps.
Bangladesh signed an agreement with the SEA-ME-WE-6 Consortium in September 2021 for construction and maintenance of the third submarine cable.
According to the project proposal, the BSCCL, under the telecommunications ministry, will install the cable to connect with the proposed SEA-ME-WE-6 submarine cable by June 2024.
The company's nine months earnings per share (EPS) jumped 44 per cent to Tk 9.98 for July 2021 to March 2022 as against Tk 6.94 for July 2020 to March 2021.
Listed in 2012, Bangladesh Submarine Cable's authorised capital is Tk 10 billion and paid-up capital is Tk 1.64 billion while the total number of securities is 164.90 million.
The government owns 73.84 per cent stake in the company while institutional investors 16.37 per cent, foreign investors 2.72 per cent and the general public 7.07 per cent as on May 31, 2022, the DSE data showed.