India’s third international Internet gateway, after Mumbai and Chennai, would be operational in Agartala within a month, BSNL chief general manager (North-East one circle) K.K.Saxena said Agartala on Thursday.
Union Communications and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on July 11 last year laid the foundation stone Agartala for the third international Internet gateway (IIG) through Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh.
“Laying of the optical fibre cable (OFC) link between Akhaura (along Agartala) and Cox’s Bazar has been completed and the final testing is now going on. This would be the country’s third international Internet gateway after Mumbai and Chennai and it would be operational in a month,” Saxena told reporters.
He said: “When the IIG would be operational, there would not only be a sea change in the Internet and telecommunication connectivity in northeast India, but the other parts of the country would also be benefited by getting additional Internet bandwidth.”
The official said the Indian government has spent Rs. 20 crore to create the infrastructure, including laying of OFC to avail the 10 gigabit bandwidth from Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL).
He said: “India had to give around Rs. 8 crore per year as rental fee to BSCCL to avail the telecommunication linkages.”
In the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bangladeshi Premier Sheikh Hasina, an agreement was signed in Dhaka on June 6 between the BSCCL and BSNL for leasing of international bandwidth for Internet at Akhaura.
Akhaura is the second largest trading point and checkpost between India and Bangladesh after Petrapole-Benapole trade centre and checkpost along West Bengal.
“After more than four years of diplomatic and political parleys, the deal was signed between BSCCL and BSNL,” the BSNL official added.
The official said so far northeastern states have been getting Internet connectivity through Mumbai and Chennai international Internet gateway but the distance was creating lots of problems, including very weak speed and drop of linkages.
“The Internet connectivity from Bangladesh would be unimpeded and have high-speed with large bandwidth besides most reliable.”
Chief Minister Manik Sarkar had on a number of occasions written letters to Modi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh for alternative telecom routing through Bangladesh for improving feeble telecommunication facilities in the northeast region.
The Bangladesh Telecommunications Company has laid optical fibre cable of the 30 km distance from Brahmanbaria to Akhaura, which adjoins Agartala, while the BSNL will set up international long distance (ILD) gateway at Agartala along with associated equipment.
India had set up a multi-purpose integrated checkpost at a cost of around Rs. 80 crore in Agartala adjacent to Akhaura. The Indian government has also embarked upon to laying 15-km railway track to link Agartala railway station with Akhaura railway station in eastern Bangladesh.