Batelco buys extra undersea cable capacity to Japan
Batelco is currently spending 150,000 Bahraini dinars ($397,800) every month—BD5,000 a day—to make the Internet available to the people of Bahrain. The cost went up by BD50,000 per month this week after Batelco bought extra undersea cable capacity to Japan to make sure it can keep ahead of Bahrain's demand for Internet access, according to a company press release.
Some 70 percent of all Internet content accessed by Batelco customers is stored, or 'hosted', in the US or Europe and the company has to pay to get that content transported, at high speed, back to Bahrain. Even the vast majority of the Internet's Arabic content is 'hosted' in the US.
Buying extra capacity from Bahrain to Japan offers an alternative route to the US. Batelco's Informatics Senior Manager Adel Daylami said: "If our westerly cable routes to the US hit problems, then our traffic can get to and from the US by routing east instead. We are working to get to the point whereby we have so much high-speed cable capacity that our Internet customers never notice if we suffer a cable break between Bahrain and the US. The traffic will simply switch to a different route to avoid the problem. But this is an expensive business."
In fact, the price Batelco pays for high-speed cable links to the US and Europe is about to climb even higher as the company negotiates extra satellite links likely to cost another BD60,000 per month, which will push the total cost to BD210,000 per month—more than BD2,500,000 a year.
The island of Bahrain's geography is such that access to the main undersea cable routes is severely limited, while locations in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific actually have too much high-speed cable capacity keeping the cost extremely low.
For example, the cable route from the UK to the US is the cheapest point-to-point high-bandwidth link in the world, so Internet providers in the UK pay comparatively tiny fees for connectivity and Internet players in the US pay even less because the bulk of the World Wide Web's content is 'hosted' there.
Dial-up Internet access (inet dial-up) on an ordinary phone line in Bahrain costs seven fils a minute—the cost of a local call—plus three BD per month subscription. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)