Internet bandwidth usage has increased by 45% over a period of nine months from June last to March this year thanks to a drop in prices and increased use of internet amid political unrest.
Officials in the state-owned Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL) attributed the hike from last June’s 30 gigabits per second to 45 Gbps this March to a drop in bandwidth price and a significant hike in internet usage.
The bandwidth distributor’s target was to increase the usage to 50 Gbps by June and 60 Gbps by the end of the next fiscal year.
“Though we are happy with the increase in usage, it is unlikely that we can achieve our target for this fiscal year,” BSCCLManaging Director and Chief Executive Officer Monwar Hossain told the Dhaka Tribune recently.
Company insiders claimed that the recent political unrest has caused the surge in internet usage, which had been relatively low until December last year.
In June 2009, bandwidth usage totaled 7.6 Gbps. By June 2010, it doubled to 15.2 Gbps. In the following year, the usage climbed more than 50% to touch 22.86 Gbps.
Analysts said that the steps taken by the government to encourage greater usage of digital communication devices was a major contributing factor. They further said the presence of wireless internet service providers like Qubee, Banglalion, Citicell Zoom Ultra and Teletalk 3G, is the other big factor for the rise.
At present, a service provider has to pay Tk8,000 for every mbps of bandwidth. The government has reduced the price four times during its tenure. Before 2007, when the caretaker government pulled down the price to Tk27,000 per mbps, it was costing service providers Tk75,000.
BSCCL launched operations in 2008 with an initial penetration of 7.13 Gbps, with a total capacity of 29.32 Gbps. In 2009, the company expanded its capacity to 44.6 Gbps.
In 2012, the 160 Gbps model was introduced at a cost of Tk500m, taking the total capacity to 200 Gbps, said the BSCCLCEO.
He added that BSCCL had recently gained membership into the sea-me-we-5 consortium, with the aim of providing a second submarine cable connection within the next two years.
The company currently provides services through sea-me-we-4 international submarine cable, which runs a total length of 20,000km through 17 landing points in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Tunisia, Italy, Algeria and France.