Establishment of fiber optic links in Bangladesh began in 1986, along with the installation of new digital switches. Starting with the optical fiber link between Dhaka’s Maghbazar and Gulshan telephone exchanges, all intra-city inter- exchange connections are now established through short distance fiber-optic links. The intercity portions between the major cities started with the completion of the STM-16 fiber link between Dhaka to Chittagong in 2001. Bogra to Joypurhat to Ragpur and Dinajpur in the north west of Bangladesh is already connected by STM-4 optical link while Dhaka to Bogra optical fiber link via the Jamuna Bridge is currently under construction. In addition, there is a plan to connect Dhaka to Sylhet and Dhaka to Khulna on the optical fiber network.
Bangladesh’s Grameenphone has opened a new fiber optic cable link through the 4.8 kilometer long Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge becoming the first mobile phone operator in the country to do so. The fiber optic cable links Elenga in Tangail and Nolka in Sirajganj and covers a length of about 40 kilometers through the Jamuna Bridge. This link completes the Grameenphone fiber optic transmission backbone between the East and West zones of the country. The fiber-optic transmission backbone will ensure a more secure network providing high quality voice and data services in the Northern and Southern districts.
In the last three years BTTB built about 1375 Km optical fiber network in the country under two projects. The most modern SDH technology was adopted in all these optical fiber links. Dhaka – Comilla – Feni – Chittagong backbone optical link and Feni – Choumuhini – Noakhali, Choumuhini – Lakshmipur, Comilla – B. Baria spur optical links were implemented under Dhaka – Chittagong high capacity optical fiber project. The total length of optical cable laid under this project is about 450 Km. 18 core optical cables were used in backbone link whereas spur links were built with 12 core O.F cables. The transmission capacity of the backbone is 2.5 GB/s (STM-16). Transmission capacity of Feni – Choumihini spur link is 622 MB/s (STM-4) whereas the transmission capacity of Choumuhini – Noakhali, Choumuhini - Lakshmipur and Comilla – B. Baria spur links is 155 MB/s (STM-1). Some short haul optical links like Tongi – Gazipur and B.Baria Microwave Station – B.Baria Exchange of STM-1 capacity were also built under this project. The SDH transmission equipment used in this network are from Alcatel CIT. Under the project entitled “Installation and Expansion of Digital Telephone Exchanges in various District Head Quarters of Bangladesh” which is commonly known as 216 KL project, about 925 Km 12 core optical fiber cable network was built. The SDH transmission equipment used in this network are also from Alcatel CIT. The backbone optical link built under this project is Bogra – Palashbari – Rangpur – Saidpur – Dinajpur – Thakurgaon – Panchagarh. Bogra – Palashbari – Rangpur portion of this backbone is of STM-4 capacity and rest is of STM-1 capacity. Now the present requirement of E1 claims that the Rangpur – Saidpur – Dinajpur section of the link should be upgraded to STM-4. Some spur links also were built in different areas of the country under 216 KL project.
Map of the existing fiber-optic network in Bangladesh