The dream of digital Bangladesh is taking shape with companies ushering in a new era of technology. Meet the ABS group that is revolutionizing how we think about connectivity through optical fibers.
Please tell us about your journey with the ABS group.
I come from a business family. My father Late Al-Hajj Md. NurulHuq was the founder of Skylab Pharma, the oldest and renowned pharmaceutical firm to come out with disposable syringes. He was the Founder President of Cumilla Chambers of Commerce and also the Chairman of Oman Bangladesh Leasing Company. After my graduation, my father encouraged me to join his company Skylab as an Executive Director. My first independent venture was establishing a terry towel factory in Savar. Following this, I launched ABS Knitex – a yarn drying project. After my father passed away, I joined Skylab as Managing Director.
I have been involved in the business from a very young age. I decided to venture into the optical fiber industry because of the increased demand following the government’s initiative to pursue establishing Vision 2021. I believe I am innovative and consider myself a risk-taker
What sets ABS Cables apart from its competitors?
ABS Cables has two factories producing optical fibers. In order to establish the factories, we sent our personnel to China in order to get trained and return to the country as optical fiber experts. This overseas training was facilitated through a joint venture with China Siemens. The Bangladesh government is aspiring to establish e-villages. In order to be able to do this, the country needs a massive output of the optical fiber, without which there is no connectivity.
The optical fibers ABS Cables produces has a monumental competitive advantage. We digitally print our fiber cables. Even though this reduces our efficiency by 30%, it ensures that we are producing the highest quality optical fiber cable available in the country. Our raw materials are sourced internationally; the HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) we use for our optical fiber Cables comes from world-renowned company, Borouge, UAE.
Our optical fibers are fitted with meter ids at 10-meter intervals. This helps to detect disturbance accurately, making repairs a time-efficient process. Currently, the cable industry is competing with imports, and we would urge the government to impose a tax on imports to encourage local vendors to contribute to the sector. If this is done, it would allow our workers to become skilled, and in turn, create employment, and the nation wouldn’t have to part with foreign currency. Right now ABS is in a position to take on government projects. We welcome the establishment of more local industries because then the country will become self-sufficient when it comes to the production of optical fiber cables.
How important is the role of innovation for ABS Cables Limited?
Optical Fiber Cables play a significant role for the Economic Development and digitization of the country. Most of the Government, Semi-Government, Autonomous, and private offices are digitized, therefore an internet connection is a must in these offices, and internet connection means the use of Optical Fiber Cable through ISP (Internet Service Provider) company. Also, most of the residential houses are using internet connection through ISP. The demand for our product is significantly enlarged throughout the country because now we are the second largest manufacturing company of Optical Fiber Cables. We are manufacturing our products with Fourth Generation German Technology Machinery which is going on full swing in the local market and our products are even better than the imported ones.
Renowned ICT companies are using our product regularly. Our products are also being used by many of the large ISP companies throughout the country.
I come from a business family. My father Late Al-Hajj Md. Nurul Huq was the founder of Skylab Pharma, one of the oldest and renowned pharmaceutical firms to come out with disposable syringes. He was the Founder President of Comilla Chambers of Commerce and also the Chairman of Oman Bangladesh Leasing Company.
What were the challenges of establishing ABS Cables and how did you overcome them?
Optical Fiber cables (OFC) are used as a medium for Telecommunication and networking because it is flexible and can be bundled as cables. It is especially advantageous for long-distance communications because light propagates through the little attenuation compared to electrical copper cable. For the digitization of Bangladesh, ICT Sector Development is very much important but some companies imported low-quality Optical Fiber and incurs a loss of Foreign Currency as well as creates an obstacle to improving our Industrial Development. We request our present government to discourage importing the low-quality Optical Fiber and encourage local manufacturers like us to avoid loss of Foreign Currency. Our major challenges are to make known the above aspects to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) companies because they provide services to End Users of our products. The progress of our Research and marketing team are significantly developing to augment the use of OFC through keeping above mentioned advantages in the mind of mass people and as a result, the user of OFC is enlarged in the local market and the sale of our product is increasing day by day. Renowned ICT-related companies like Summit Communication Ltd., Fiber@Home, Link3 Technologies Ltd., BDCOM online, Amber IT, Dot Internet, Info link, etc are using our products.
How crucial is it for Bangladesh to locally manufacture fiber optic cables as opposed to importing from abroad?
Fiber optic cable has wide-ranging potentiality in the Information & Communication Technology sector. Before the cable was marked in Bangladesh as an imported item and the price was staggeringly high. Presently, the market demand for the product is significantly high throughout the country because almost most of Bangladesh is using the internet, CC camera, and telecommunication technology. Aftermarket research of the product and thinking creatively, we are now poised to establish an optical fiber cable manufacturing plant for optimum use of the local market at a lower cost and mitigate the demands of Digital Bangladesh.
What are your aspirations with A.B.S. cables?
The demand for our product – optical fiber cable has dramatically increased in Bangladesh. Our user is also increasing day by day. The future of optical fiber cable is bright. Now almost all government, semi-government, autonomous, and many corporate companies are using our cables. In order to bolster digitization, the use of optical fiber cable is a must. Our aspiration with ABS Cables looks promising and optimum for the future.