Four telecom companies are going to bid for a 248-kilometre-long optic fibre cable (OFC) on Dhaka-Chittagong route, owned by the Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB).
The local telecommunications service providers submitted their respective bid proposals Monday to take lease of the unutilised segment of the OFC network of the PGCB, a concern of the Power Development Board.
The bidders that are joining the fray include the GrameenPhone, AKTEL, Concord Group and Bangladesh Rural Telecommunications Limited, official sources said.
"Now, we'll evaluate the bids and only the technically and financially sound bidder will get the lease facility," a PGCB official told the FE.
But he declined to give further details about the bidders' proposals.
The PGCB is now pushing ahead with a plan to lease out its excess capacity of around 90 per cent to the potential telecom operators to help give a further boost to the country's emerging telecom sector.
The state-run power company had initiated the process in August last and appointed the Infrastructure Investment Facilitation Centre (IIFC) to assist in the leasing procedures, it is learnt.
Explaining the lease benefits, officials of the IIFC said the PGCB's optic fibre cable entailed lower installation costs, negligible maintenance cost compared to buried cable, and high bandwidth facility.
The PGCB built an overhead OFC network along its high voltage transmission lines. In the first phase, The Power Grid Company has installed about 450 kms of fibre optic line network over its power grid line on Dhaka-Chittagong way with a plan to expand the existing line's length to 2,100 km by 2010.
PGCB officials hoped that the whole country would be brought under the network in the second phase.
Once awarded, the lessee would be able to use the OFC for transmitting telecom signal from one terminal point to other along the network for own use or for sub-leasing the bandwidth to others, according to a document of the IIFC.
The Power Grid Company's decision to lease out its unused portion of fibre optic network to the telecommunication service providers is expected to revolutionise the local information technology sector, still struggling to catch up with that of neighbouring countries.
Currently, the company can use only 10 per cent of the optical fibre network capacity.
The officials said that the optical fibre network of the company will be very robust and noise-free, and its reliability will be over 99.98 per cent.