Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has allowed Bangladesh Railway, which is also a nationwide telecommunication transmission network entity, to expand its optical fibre network.
BR has taken an initiative to expand its fibre network following instruction from a government body, Domestic Network Coordination Committee, to strengthen internet connectivity in different remote areas across the country.
The connectivity would allow access network services especially the mobile phone operators to improve quality of services by using the connectivity of Bangladesh Railway.
Following a plea from BR, the telecom regulator gave the approval at a recent commission meeting presided over by its chairman Md Jahurul Haque, a senior BTRC official told New Age.
As per the BTRC’s earlier approval issued in November, 2014, BR was allowed to install fibre only through its railway tracks and its service areas including railway stations.
However, the latest approval of the commission would allow BR to lay fibre optic cable in the areas outside of the railway tracks for providing the last mile service to the mobile phone towers and other operators.
BR would be able to lay additional 1 kilometre of fibre from its railway tracks to the point of presence for providing the last mile service without taking approval from the telecom regulator.
The railway authority, however, will have to take approval from BTRC if it requires laying fibre above 1 kilometre from its railway tracks for providing the last mile connectivity to its customers.
BR has also been allowed to lay fibre optical cable for the last mile connectivity in collaboration with other NTTN operators, or it will have to lay fibre with its own cost and management.
BTRC officials said that the permission to BR would help it enhance its competitiveness for leasing or renting its fibre capacity.
Expansion of its fibre optic cable would also facilitate the mobile phone operators and other access network services in strengthening their services using high-speed internet connectivity.
In 1992, with the grant of the Norwegian government, BR developed an optical fibre-based comprehensive telecommunication system. That time, BR had laid down own optical fibre network combining 1,600km of composite cables (optical and copper cables) and 200km of copper cable for own purpose.
Later in 1997, BR’s unutilised capacity was leased out to private telecom operator Grameenphone to boost revenue.
Subsequently, BR and Grameenphone jointly laid another 409km of optical fibre network.
Very recently, BR has expanded the network by another 400km, which would also be leased out to telecoms for commercial use.
Last year, BR launched a project to lay another 575 kilometres of optical fibre on its secondary routes.
Since 2008, when the NTTN licensing guidelines was introduced, none other than the NTTN operators are allowed to lay fibre optic cable. Before that, other entities were also allowed to lay fibre optic cable.
Banglalink has ownership of 3,001 kilometres of fibre optic cable, while GP has 2,490 kilometres, Citycell 1,127 kilometres, Robi and Airtel collectively 831 kilometres, and state-owned Teletalk 101.8 kilometres.
Of the NTTN licensees, Summit Communications has more than 40,000 kilometres of fibre optical cable including underground and overhead cable and Fibre@Home has over 38,000 kilometres of fibre optic cable.
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