Dhaka: Bangladesh government has reduced the rentals and tariffs of submarine cable by an average 20% to boost usage of the multi-million dollar cable and raise Internet connectivity across the country.
The Finance Ministry of the Bangladesh caretaker government has approved the reduced rates, the Financial Express reported on Sunday.
The charges of monthly office use comes down to 700 taka (about 10 US dollars) from 1,000 taka (about 14.3 US dollars) and an annual leased Internet access up to 2m bps to 1.44 million taka (about 20,571 US dollars) from 1.92 million taka (about 27,428 US dollars).
Charges and rentals of all other tariff slabs have also been reduced drastically and four new service packages have been introduced in a bid to expand Internet access in the country, officials said.
The reduced rate would result in a loss of 45% tariff of the submarine cable, worth 320 million taka (about 4.6 million US dollars), a telecom ministry brief said.
But it's hoped that it would lead to a three-fold growth in users base and an additional income worth 1.20 billion taka (about 17.1 million US dollars).
"The government has reduced the rate on the plea by the internet service providers (ISPs). The ISPs have said that high submarine tariff rates are responsible for low Internet penetration in the country," a telecom ministry official said.
"We hope the low rate would make Internet services cheaper all over the country and ensure maximum utilisation of the cable," he added.
The Internet World Stats an international organisation puts the country's Internet penetration at 0.3% of the population until last August, only ahead of war-torn Afghanistan but behind of other six South Asian nations.
Almost 90% of the submarine cable, installed at a cost of 6.57 billion taka (about 93.9 million US dollars) in 2006, has remained unutilised, due mostly to its high tariff rates.