Agartala, March 14 (IANS) India’s third International Internet Gateway (IIG) in Agartala through Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh was not being optimally exploited due to technical reasons, Tripura’s Information Technology Minister Tapan Chakraborty said on Tuesday.

“Due to technical deficiencies of the 10 gigabit bandwidth capacity IIG in Agartala through Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, only 6.1 gigabit bandwidth is being utilised,” Chakraborty told the state assembly.

He said: “For optimal utilisation of the Agartala IIG, a Gateway GPRS Support Node (GGSN) has to be set up here at a cost of Rs 300 crore. Through the Agartala IIG, the international internet traffic is being transmitted. However, the domestic internet traffic, which is 60 per cent of the total, is being routed through the old Guwahati-Kolkata-Chennai internet route.”

The Minister said the Tripura government has urged the Centre to improve the internet connectivity of the northeastern states by optimally utilising the Agartala IIG.

“The GGSN machine must be set up here and transmit the domestic traffic along with the international traffic through the third IIG (in Agartala).”

Quoting Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) officials, Chakraborty said the government-owned telecom service provider is yet to synchronise its mobile data service with the Agartala IIG.

The Minister said the BSNL disinvestment plan was resulting in loss of customers in the country.

He said that of the total 27.56 lakh mobile phone customers in Tripura, only 433,540 subscribe to BSNL service and the remaining prefer private telecom operators.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina, along with Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, on March 23 last year inaugurated the 3rd IIG through videoconferencing from their respective offices in New Delhi, Dhaka and Agartala.

The Agartala IIG is the third such internet gateway after Mumbai and Chennai.

India has spent Rs 19.14 crore to create the infrastructure for the third IIG in Agartala to get access to the 10 gigabit bandwidth from Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL).

For this, optical fibre cable link has been established between Akhaura (along Agartala) and Cox’s Bazar in southeast Bangladesh.

India has to give around Rs 8 crore per year as rent to the BSCCL.

According to the agreement signed between BSNL and BSCCL, if the demand increases, the BSNL can avail up to 40 gigabit bandwidth using the same infrastructure.

Earlier, the northeastern states got internet connectivity through Mumbai and Chennai IIGs, but long distance created problems like very slow speed and drop of linkages.

Meanwhile, a media report in Bangladesh said Bhutan too is keen to import internet bandwidth from Bangladesh.

“To export bandwidth to Bhutan, Bangladesh will have to use Indian territory; fibre optical cable will also need to be laid. State Minister for Post and Telecommunications Tarana Halim got a positive response from India when she discussed the issue with Indian authorities,” the media report said.

Bangladesh has a 200 gbps bandwidth connection with the submarine cable: South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 4, but the country uses only around 130 gbps now.

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