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PGCB to decide on bids for optic fibre network soon
FE Report

The Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) is negotiating with four telecom companies that had submitted bids for taking lease of its 248-kilometre-long optic fibre cable (OFC) on Dhaka-Chittagong route.
"At this stage, we're carrying out negotiations with the bidders to facilitate the award of license," a PGCB official said Tuesday.
"We've already evaluated the bids submitted by the telecom operators …We'll award the license shortly," the official told the FE.
The bidders that joined the fray included the GrameenPhone, AKTEL, Concord Group and Bangladesh Rural Telecommunications Limited.
The local telecommunications service providers dropped their respective bid proposals in February last to take lease of the unutilised segment of optic fibre network of the PGCB, a functional unit of the Power Development Board.
The PGCB is moving ahead with a plan to lease out its excess capacity of around 90 per cent to the telecom operators to help give a further boost to the country's nascent information and communications technology (ICT) sector.
The state-run company had initiated the process in August last and appointed the Infrastructure Investment Facilitation Centre (IIFC) to assist in the leasing procedures.
Explaining the lease benefits, officials of the IIFC said the PGCB's optic fibre cable entailed lower installation and negligible maintenance costs 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 PGCB has installed about 450 kms of fibre optic line network over its power grid line on Dhaka-Chittagong highway with a plan to expand the existing line's length to 2,100 km by 2010.
PGCB officials expressed the hope 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 move to lease out its unused portion of fibre optic network to the bidders is expected to give a further fillip to the country's ICT 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.