Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL), one of the leading undersea cable internet bandwidth providers in the country, has approved the draft contract for the construction and maintenance of a third submarine cable.
The third submarine cable is widely known as the Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe Consortium-6 (SEA-ME-WE-6). Its landing station will be built at Cox’s Bazar.
The BSCCL also agreed to sign a supply contract with the contractor who was selected by the consortium.
On this issue, none of the authorities concerned were prepared to comment on The Business Standard.
On December 1, 2020, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved the project titled “Installation of Third Submarine Cable for Expansion of Bangladesh International Telecommunication System” connecting the country to a third submarine cable and meeting the growing demand for Internet bandwidth.
The cost of the project is Tk 692 crore, and upon completion the bandwidth will increase by an additional six terabits per second, increasing the possibility of earning foreign currency.
An amount of Tk392 crore will be provided by the government as a cost of the project while the BSCCL will pay the remainder of Tk300 crore itself. The project will be completed by 2025.
BSCCL operates two submarine cable landing stations with a capacity of 1900 gigabits per second. The first is SMW-4 at Cox’s Bazar launched in 2005 and the second is SMW-5 at Kuakata, which began operations in 2017.
The company has asked to increase the capacity by an additional 1,600 gigabits of two existing cables, as the government wants to launch 5G as soon as possible.
Since the start of 2017, BSCCL’s market share has started to increase significantly, which is now around 74%.
Currently, Bangladesh consumes 1,564 Gbps of BSCCL bandwidth and 95% of it comes from the Singapore route.
This is why the company has decided to sell 25.31% of the capacity of the western section (French route) of the second submarine cable for a one-off amount of Tk 30.6 crore to Saudi Telecom Company.
According to the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission, the number of Internet users was 12.37 crore until July of this year, while mobile Internet subscribers were 11.36 crore and users broadband of 1 crore.
At the same time, BSCCL posted 34% revenue growth and 90% net profit increase in the first three quarters of FY21 compared to the same period a year ago.
According to its financial statements, in the period July-March, revenue was Tk 244.09 crore and net profit was Tk 124.75 crore.
In FY20, the company paid 20% cash dividend to shareholders and also posted 63% top profit of Tk 95.60 crore.
BSCCL was listed on both stock exchanges in 2012.
Over the past year, its share price has jumped 77% to 210.80 Tk on the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE).
On Tuesday, its share price fell 2.86% to close at 210 Tk.
Of the total shares, the government holds 73.84%, institutional investors 12.66%, foreign investors 2.68% and general investors 10.82%.