In India, Bharti Airtel is putting in fiber to the northeast, linking at last to Bangladesh via a terrestrial fiber cable. The Indian operator is in part looking to boost its wireless capabilities and network quality in the neighboring country, and the new route will complement the existing submarine cable and satellite access that Bangladesh gets nearly all its connectivity from at present.
It has always puzzled me how dependent the developing world is on submarine cables to reach their own neighbors. Submarine cables are wonderful things of course, but they’re designed to do what they do because of the need to cross water and not because it’s so much better than going by land. And they only connect a few landing stations, without offering options to hook up other population centers along the way.
But the lack of ancillary infrastructure along the way makes it something of a chicken-egg dilemma, a state of affairs that is even more obvious in Liquid’s current move to bring a regional fiber network to Africa. And then of course there’s politics, where for example putting a cable across Israel is un-discussable, creating a massively vulnerable choke point through Egypt whose main terrestrial alternative to Europe goes the back way through *Iran*. Strange world…
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