Agartala will now get 10 GB of additional internet bandwidth through an agreement between India’s state run telco BSNL and Bangladesh’s Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL), reports Business Standard. The deal was passed today by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) after a meeting between officials from both nations.

Currently Tripura is connected solely through the Siliguri corridor, while Agartala is claimed to be India’s third internet gateway after Chennai and Mumbai, according to the report.

A media statement on MEA’s site stated that BSNL will lease the bandwidth from Cox’s Bazaar (a town in Bangladesh) internet port to its own node at Agartala. The connectivity project between the two countries was originally inked between the two countries in July last year. The cable connecting the regions was expected to be laid by BSNL for a cost of Rs 8 crore.

A BGR report points out that under the agreement, Bangladesh Telecommunications Company was set to lay an optical fiber cable of about 30 kms between the two Bangladesh cities of Brahmanbaria to Akhaura, which adjoins India’s Tripura. BSNL planned to set up an International Long Distance (ILD) gateway at Agartala along with required equipment.

Internet gateways in India: As of now, India connects to the Internet through Mumbai and Chennai, and to a lesser extent through Cochin, Trivandrum and Tuticorin. Mumbai has eleven international submarine cables coming in, whereas Chennai has four, Cochin has two and Trivandrum and Tuticorin have one each.

BSNL owns an international submarine cable connecting India and Sri Lanka through its cable landing station in Tuticorin. Subsequently, the Digha Cable Landing Station in West Bengal was approved in May 2011 by the Department Of Telecommunication (DoT) for a submarine cable project between India and South-east Asia for a total cost of Rs 1600 crore.

FM radio in the north east: In January 2015, the Government of India approved 18 new FM radio channels in the eight north eastern states and 15 new FM Radio Channels in Jammu and Kashmir. However, these channels would not be permitted to put out their own news broadcasts.

North East and eastern states rank last in Internet readiness: A report titled Index of Internet Readiness of Indian States, published by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), shows that North Eastern, and Eastern states including West Bengal, Jharkhand Assam, and Odisha were ranked towards the end of the list, categorized among bigger States. While Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Meghalya, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland also ranked last among the smaller states.

Maharashtra emerged as the top ranking state in terms of overall Internet readiness index. Among the smaller states, Delhi has emerged as the topmost state in terms of Internet readiness index.

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