Dhaka, July 8: An agreement was signed on Sunday between the Shipping Ministry and the operators of the Bangabandhu-1 satellite, Bangladesh Communication Satellite Company Ltd (BCSCL) in the city to avail the services of the country’s first satellite.As per the agreement, with the help of the satellite, all the country’s ships and vessels navigating through the country’s rivers and seas will be able to maintain communication with each other and prevent accidents, gain uninterrupted access to television, internet and other telecommunication facilities.
The agreement was signed by the secretary of the ministry Md Abdus Samad and managing director of BCSCL Md Saiful Islam.
Shipping Minister Shahjahan Khan and Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology (ICT) Minister Mustafa Jabbar were also present during the occasion.
After the signing ceremony, Abdus Samad said that approximately 4000 international vessels enter Bangladeshi waters annually, while 35,000 domestic vessels navigate throughout the country annually.
This agreement would help the vessels to maintain uninterrupted communication with each other and prevent collisions, enable access to internet and many more facilities, the secretary added.
Alongside the vessels, the facilities can also be availed by the ferry ghats and other riverside establishments.
Saiful Islam, who is also an additional secretary at the Posts and Telecommunications Division, declined to share the actual contract value, but told UNB that they will be providing the satellite’s services at less than international rates.
Citing the agreement as the first contract attained for Bangabandhu-1, he estimated September to be the time when they can formally begin to provide its services. He said there is target to go for more commercial service contracts after September.
Project Director of Bangabandhu-1 Mezbahuzzaman told UNB that no technical faults are found in the satellite so far, which is operating smoothly and in constant communication with the two ground control stations at Betbunia in Rangamati and Gazipur.
He said that the maker of the satellite, Franco-Italian aerospace manufacturer Thales Alenia Space, is expected to handover complete control of the satellite to Bangladesh by September.
ICT Minister Mustafa Jabbar said that conceptualisation of Bangabandhu-1 had begun back in 1997.
Although there was a lengthy delay in making it a reality, it has proven its critics wrong and is set to benefit Bangladesh in many ways.