News From Telecom World

BTCL teams up with Korean firm on high-speed internet

Posted on: March 23, 2009

The Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL) yesterday (19 Mar ‘09) signed a Tk 280 crore deal with South Korea’s KT Corporation to install the latest internet backbone in a bid to provide high-speed broadband services.

The deal was designed to implement a project titled “Internet Information Network Expansion” for BTCL, which will jointly be financed by the Bangladesh and Korean governments.

Under the deal, KT Corporation will install the internet protocol (IP)-based network for BTCL in six divisions, along with 17 other district towns, in 18 months.

The new backbone primarily will work with BTCL’s existing TDM (time-division multiplexing) network. BTCL now has 40,000 internet connections, run mainly by dial-up connections.

“The project will provide high-speed internet access to the mass,” said Telecommunications Minister Rajiuddin Ahmed Raju at the deal signing ceremony in Dhaka.

He said the initiative is one of many to materialise the present government’s election pledge of a Digital Bangladesh.

The South Korean government is providing Tk 170 crore in loans, of the total Tk 280 crore project, while the remaining will be organised by the Bangladesh government.

SM Khabiruzzaman, managing director of BTCL, and Meang Soo Ho, vice president of KT Corporation, signed the deal on behalf of respective organisations.

Under the project, a total of 17 IP POP (post office protocol) will be set up in different places, connected by an optical fibre network.

BTCL officials said home users can enjoy speeds of up to 256kbps when the network is installed. On the other hand, corporations or business organisations can enjoy speeds of up to 10gb per second.

The Internet Information Network Expansion was taken up by the former BTTB in July 2006, with an execution deadline of June 2009. But a long bidding process delayed execution.

BTCL officials claimed that after commissioning the IP network, the company would be owner of the first ever IP backbone network.

“Gradually, the IP network would be utilised to introduce WiMax,” said a high official of the company. BTCL is planning to adopt WiMax technology to provide wireless broadband services to remote areas, where installation of the optical fibre network would be expensive, he added.

Bangladesh’s broadband market is yet to flourish. Only a million customers are enjoying internet facilities that are mainly provided by local internet service providers and mobile operators.

However mobile operators claimed that they have connected more than four million customers by EDGE technology for internet services.

The state-run Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (BTTB) was made into a company in July 2008 in a bid to gradually bring the organisation under private management. The present government has already recognised BTCL’s activities in principle, by approving the company’s organogram.

Source: Daily Star

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