Bangladesh’s internet slowdown persists as SEA-ME-WE-5 repairs delayed

Bangladesh’s internet slowdown persists as SEA-ME-WE-5 repairs delayed

Bangladesh’s internet slowdown due to a break in the SEA-ME-WE-5 subsea cable may reportedly continue to the end of May due to red tape and haggling over the cost of lighting up more bandwidth on the country’s only alternate subsea route.

On April 20, Bangladesh Submarine Cables PLC (BSCPLC) – which is a stakeholder in SEA-ME-WE 5 – said that a break had occurred in the cable 440 km from the Singapore end, off the coast of Indonesia. That places the repair work under Indonesia’s jurisdiction.

According to local media reports, Saidur Rahman – BSCPLC’s GM for operation and maintenance – said in a statement on Wednesday that repairs have been delayed because Indonesia’s administrative paperwork to authorise the work “takes a little longer”.

Rahman said that Indonesian authorities have informed BSCPLC that repairs “could be completed in the third or fourth week of next month.”

The SEA-ME-WE 5 break – which disconnected all traffic between Singapore and SEA-ME-WE 5’s landing station in Kuakata – means Bangladesh has lost close to 1.7 Tbps of international capacity, which has impacted internet speeds across the country, BSCPLC said earlier.

Bangladesh’s only other international capacity sources – apart from 100 Gbps still available from the western side of SEA-ME-WE 5 – are the SEA-ME-WE 4 subsea cable, which provides 800 Gbps, and terrestrial cable (ITC) licence holders that import 2.7 Tbps of bandwidth from India.

SEA-ME-WE 4 – in which BSCPLC is also a stakeholder – is capable of providing additional capacity to Bangladesh, but Rahman said that this “is still not decided” because it would cost extra money. Rahman also said that “other options” are being considered, without elaborating.

The cause of the cable disruption remains undisclosed.

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