The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Tuesday cleared four development projects, including Tk 6.93 billion one to install the third submarine cable.
The submarine cable project is aimed at expanding the country's international telecommunication system as Bangladesh will get 6 terabyte per second of bandwidth from the new connection.
The approval came from the weekly ECNEC meeting held at the NEC conference room. ECNEC chairperson and prime minister Sheikh Hasina chaired the meeting joining it from Gonobhaban through a video conference.
"ECNEC today (Tuesday) approved a total of four projects of three ministries. The total estimated cost of the projects is Tk 21.15 billion (only additional costs of three revised projects were counted here)," said planning commission member professor Shamsul Alam at a press briefing after the meeting.
Of the total cost, Tk 14.41 billion will come from the state coffer, while Tk 3.1 billion from the funds of the agencies concerned, and the remaining Tk 3.74 billion will come as loans from foreign sources - the World Bank and China, he said.
Talking about the submarine project involving Tk 6.93 billion, another planning commission member Md Mamun-Al-Rashid said Bangladesh Submarine Company Limited will implement it by June 2024.
"If the third submarine cable is installed, our bandwidth will be increased by 6 terabyte per second," he said.
He said the new project has been taken as the lifespan of the country's first submarine cable will expire in 2025. Since the first submarine cable is 15 years old, the rate of service disruption has been higher due to maintenance-related reasons, he added.
The first submarine cable --SEA-ME-WE-4-- was launched in 2005 while the second one -- SEA-ME-WE-5-in 2017.
With the third submarine cable, Bangladesh will join the South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe-6 (SEA-ME-WE-6) cable, which will be stretched from Singapore to France through the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, Red Sea and Mediterranean Sea, he said.
The main project operations include installation of 13,275-km core submarine cable and installation of 1,850-km branch submarine cable, he added. During the approval of the submarine cable project, the prime minister instructed the Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL) to expand its services to all the remote areas, including Haor, Beel and Char, said Mamun-Al-Rashid ones. She said no area should remain out of the BTCL coverage.