Railway plans to expand optical fibre network

Railway plans to expand optical fibre network
Railway plans to expand optical fibre network

Bangladesh Railway has taken an initiative to expand its optical fibre network to secondary rail routes to ensure an uninterrupted telecommunication network for more operation safety and commercial gains.

Most of the key rail routes are now under optical fibre network, but 575km secondary lines are still connected through copper cables, which is a major hurdle to getting expected results from the existing optical fibre network.

A Tk 78-crore scheme is now under scrutiny for getting a go-ahead for being implemented during the period between January 2018 and June 2020, official sources said.

The scheme is expected to enhance local train operation skills, ensure operational safety and increase commercial activities of BR through a combined and uniform rail telecommunication system.

In 1992, the Bangladesh Railway laid down its own optical fibre network combining 1,600km composite cables (optical and copper cables) and 200km copper cable for the state agency’s own purpose.

The Norwegian government’s grants have played a key role in establishing the optical fibre network. Its unutilised capacity was later leased out to private telecom operator Grameenphone in 1997 to increase Bangladesh Railway’s income.

Subsequently, the BR and Grameenphone jointly laid another 409km optical fibre network, which is commercially being used by Grameenphone.

The BR has very recently expanded the network by another 400km, which will also be leased out to telecoms for commercial use as the process is now going on.

Besides, optical fiber network under 569km rail lines will be reestablished under different ongoing projects for Bangladesh Railway.

A 575km-secondary rail routes could not still see any optical fibre connection, for which the BR is not getting full advantage of the existing digital data network as copper-cable based network has some limitation.

The above project has been undertaken to remove the communication barrier and make a uniform optical fibre-based telecommunication network for the BR in 575km secondary lines like that in other sections.

It eyes to lay down optical fibre cables through underground high density polythene (HDPE) pipe in 17 districts under five divisions, including Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, Rajshahi and Rangpur, for a better service delivery.