Internet services to slow down in some areas after midnight

Traffic interruption in internet usage in some parts of the country will start after midnight today as cable diversion activity of i2i is expected to start tentatively from that time.

“As per the latest DPR (Development Progress Review) received from cable ship today, cable diversion activity of i2i is expected to start tentatively from October 29 and continue till November 2,” Global Services Management Center, Bharti Airtel Limited has informed its Bangladesh counterpart through e-mail yesterday.

“The planned outage schedule may change depending on the progress of the preceding cable diversions and the weather conditions,” it also said.

The 3,100km submarine cable, known as the i2i cable network, also connects Bangladesh’s international internet gateway (IIG) operators with Singapore, said industry operators.

Earlier on October 26, Bharti Airtel Limited said they are planning to start the maintenance work from the wee hours of Tuesday.

Industry experts have said that internet users may face reduced speed in some areas for five days starting due to the maintenance work on the submarine cable connecting Chennai to Singapore.

“Latency and congestion are likely to increase in some destinations, especially during the peak hours from 8:00pm to 1:00am,” Ahmed Junayed, secretary general, International Internet Getaway Association, Bangladesh (IIGAB) said today.

Talking to The Daily Star he also said Bangladesh may experience outages of between 100 gigabytes per second (gbps) and 150 gbps due to the equipment changes being done by Bharti Airtel Limited at their Seabone cable at the Singapore end.

Junayed, who is also the vice-president of Internet Service Providers Association of Bangladesh (ISPAB), said currently Bangladesh has 1,700 gbps bandwidth.

“Therefore, outages of 100 to 150 gbps bandwidth would not have much effect on internet usage,” Junayed, also managing director of Level 3 Carrier Ltd (IIG), added.

The latency and congestion level in internet usage may be at a minimum level, he said.

An IT expert, Junayed said major IIG operators have already taken some alternative arrangements to tackle the situation.

“We hope internet users will not face much problem during the time,” he also said.

There are 39 IIGs in Bangladesh. Of them, 25 to 30 are operational. Only the top three would be affected by the maintenance work, industry experts said.

IIGs import bandwidth from abroad and sell them among ISPs. There are 2,100 licensed ISPs across the country.

The South East Asia–Middle East–Western Europe 4 (SEA-ME-WE 4) is an approximately 18,800km submarine cable connecting Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Italy, Tunisia, Algeria and France.

“The SEA-ME-WE 4 is up. There is no maintenance over it. Only those IIGs that are using the SEA-ME-WE 4 from Cox’s Bazar to Chennai and then are connected to the i2i to reach Singapore would be affected,” said an industry insider.

The total number of internet subscribers rose 8.3 percent to an all-time high of 10.82 crore at the end of August, compared to February’s 9.99 crore.

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