Bangladesh Railway has agreed to share with mobile phone operator Grameenphone its revenue from lease proceeds of railway’s 1,600 kilometres of fibre optic cable.
A joint committee comprising representatives of Bangladesh Railway and Grameenphone, which was formed for revising agreement between the entities on dark fibre use, has agreed in this regard, officials of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission and Bangladesh Railway have said.
Besides getting share of revenue, the joint committee of BR-GP has also agreed to determine the price of BR’s dark fibre jointly.
The joint committee came up with the proposal following posts and Telecommunications ministry’s instruction in 2016 to amend the agreement to end GP’s exclusive rights over 1,600 kilometres fibre of Bangladesh Railway
out of total 2012 kilometres fibre.
GP wants its rights to determination of price of BR’s fibre to ensure that there is no discrimination and logical revenue sharing.
Apart from that, the mobile phone operator would continue to give all day to day support, customer communication and technical assistance, among others, along with lease money to Bangladesh Railways.
On the other hand, GP will use BR’s 10 pairs of fibre optic cables in 24-pair section, 8 pairs in 16-pair section and all four-pair in Jamuna Bridge Railway Link Project section.
The proposal of the joint committee is now waiting for BTRC’s final approval, senior BTRC officials have confirmed.
The optical fibre network at 300 stations was installed in 1989 under a modernisation project of Bangladesh Railway signalling system with financial assistance from the Norwegian government.
As the capacity of the fibre optic remained mostly unused, the mobile phone operator Grameenphone signed an agreement with the then railway division to use, maintain and run the business operation of the fibre optic cable, after winning an international tender in 1997.
The agreement also gave GP exclusive rights over BR’s fibre since then.
The government in 2016 took an initiative to open the fibre optic cable to other mobile phone operators with a view to ensuring its maximum use.
In 2014, Bangladesh Railway got NTTN from BTRC, allowing the state-run entity to use its fibre for commercial purposes.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Railway has already leased 412 kilometres of its fibre cable to another mobile phone operator, Robi Axiata Limited, which was developed by the BR after 1997 and remained out of the contract between BR and GP.
Since 2008, when the NTTN licensing guidelines was introduced, none other than the NTTN operators were allowed to lay fibre optic cable.
Currently 78,848 kilometres of fibre optic cable has already been laid by mobile phone operators along with five NTTN operators including Summit Communication, Fibre@Home, BTCL, Power Grid Company of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Railway.
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