Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL), a core submarine cable internet bandwidth provider in the country, approved the draft contract for construction and maintenance of a third submarine cable.
The third submarine cable is widely known as the South East Asia–Middle East-Western Europe-6 (SEA-ME-WE-6) Consortium. Its landing station will be built in Cox's Bazar.
The BSCCL also agreed to sign a supply contract with the contractor which was selected by the consortium.
Regarding this issue, none of the authorities concerned were willing to make comments to The Business Standard.
On 1 December 2020, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved the project titled "Installation of Third Submarine Cable for Expansion of International Telecommunication System of Bangladesh" connecting the country to a third submarine cable and meeting growing demand for internet bandwidth.
The project cost is Tk692 crore, and at its completion, bandwidth will increase by an additional six terabits per second, increasing the scope for earning foreign currency.
An amount of Tk392 crore will be provided by the government as project cost while the BSCCL will pay the remaining Tk300 crore on its own. The project will be completed within 2025.
BSCCL operates two submarine cable landing stations with the capacity of 1,900 gigabits per second. The first is SMW-4 in Cox's Bazar launched in 2005 and the second is SMW-5 in Kuakata, which started operations in 2017.
The company applied to enhance capacity by another 1,600 gigabits of existing two cables as the government wants to launch 5G as soon as possible.
Since the beginning of 2017, the market share of BSCCL began to increase significantly, which is now about 74%.
At present, Bangladesh consumes 1,564 Gbps of bandwidth from BSCCL and 95% of it comes from the Singapore route.
That is why the company has decided to sell 25.31% of the capacity of the western section (France route) of the second submarine cable for a one-time fee of Tk30.6 crore to Saudi Telecom Company.
According to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, the number of internet users was 12.37 crore till July this year, while mobile internet subscribers were 11.36 crore and broadband users 1 crore.
Meanwhile, the BSCCL posted a 34% growth in revenue and a 90% rise in net profit in the first three quarters of FY21 compared to the same period a year ago.
According to its financial statement, in the July-March period, revenue was Tk244.09 crore and net profit Tk124.75 crore.
In FY20, the company paid a 20% cash dividend to the shareholders and also posted a 63% higher profit of Tk95.60 crore.
BSCCL got listed on both stock exchanges in 2012.
In the last one year, its share price jumped by 77% to Tk210.80 each at the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE).
On Tuesday, its share price fell by 2.86% to close at Tk210.
Out of its total shares, the government owns 73.84%, institutional investors 12.66%, foreign investors 2.68%, and general investors 10.82%.