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Bangladesh plans to connect to a third undersea cable system

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Bangladesh's telecommunications minister Mustafa Jabbar said recently that the government has decided to connect the country to a third submarine cable to meet the rapidly growing demand for data.

"As more and more new technologies enter the market, driving the growth of data consumption, we have decided in principle to adopt a third submarine cable," said Mustafa Jabba.

Industry insiders attribute the growth in Internet bandwidth consumption to the rollout of 4G services in the country, which now stands at 950 gigabits per second (Gbps) compared with 550 Gbps a year ago.

"The demand for bandwidth is growing rapidly and our total capacity will run out within the next year," said Mustafa Jabba.So unless we develop new sources of capacity, we won't be able to provide the bandwidth we need.

Bangladesh was connected to the first international submarine cable system, sea-me-we 4, in 2006 and to the sea-me-we 5 system on day two in 2017.

In early 2018, the government has asked state-run Bangladesh undersea cable limited (BSCCL) to work toward a third undersea connection.

Another reason the government is seeking a third cable is that sea-me-we 4 is nearing its 20-year life, a BSCCL executive said. But as maintenance costs continue to rise, expanding the cable is not an economical option.

At present, the Bangladesh government has communicated and negotiated with several international consortiums to explore the feasibility of connecting to the third international submarine cable.