Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- The country’s communications with outside world suffered a major setback on Friday after a submarine cable connecting the country to the global information superhighway remained snapped for about 16 hours.

Millions of internet users experienced a complete isolation from the rest of the world since 2:45 am, with textiles and information technology sectors bearing the brunt of the technology disruptions, market operators and users said.

However, the connectivity was restored on Friday evening.

Although internet penetration is pitifully low, service providers note that some six million people use cyber space with 2.0 million connections across the country.

It was not immediately known what caused the internet disruptions.

“It’s not the issue of monetary loss. The question is our technological reliability and the regulator’s action,” President of BKMEA (Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters Association) Fazlul Hoque was quoted by the Financial Express (FE) as saying. “The whole day, we were isolated from our buyers. It really loses our credibility.”

The latest interment disorder came less than eight months when fibre optic cable installed across Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar was torn apart by suspected saboteurs.

The submarine cable linking Chittagong and Cox’s Bazar was cut off at around 2.45 am (local time), which was restored at 6.30 pm (local time), President of the Association of Internet Service Providers, Bangladesh Akhtaruzzaman Manju said.

He also said this cable connects Bangladesh to other parts of the world through the submarine cable SE-ME-WE-4.

Internet service providers said the whole nation is suffering due to the inefficiency of the state-owned Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd (BTCL) as it has failed to establish back-up services to fight off any potential disruption.

They urged the government to allow VSAT operators to function till the country is connected to a second submarine cable.

Bangladesh has been experiencing slow internet speed over the past few days after the devastating Typhoon Morakot snuffed out submarine cables in East Asian region early this week, according to the telecom officials.

Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Singapore have been facing trouble because of the damage to the Asia Pacific Cable Network-2.

Currently, only four per cent the population has access to internet, making Bangladesh one of the least technology-savvy nations in the world.

Even in South Asia, Bangladesh has been placed on the bottom rung of the World Bank’s Knowledge Economy Index, thanks mainly to the extremely lower access to technology and technological innovation.

Internet disruption caused by submarine and optic fibre cable cut has become an increasingly common phenomenon, with the country reporting at least five such cases in less than two years, the newspaper reported.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-15August09-1:10 am (BST)