The devastating fire in Khawaja Tower, a 14-stoired building in the Capital city at Mohakhali, has not only taken away three lives so far, but also triggered widespread disruptions the nationwide Internet, ICT and telecom services, since it broken out on Thursday (26 October 2023) afternoon. For this unfortunate disaster Mr. Iqbal Ahmed F. Hasan (Russell) Founder & CEO, Divine IT Limited extended his great apologies to his customers with below expression..
Dear Customers/Users, This is to inform you that our services are resumed again and you should be able to access our services now. However, we will continue to observe the tardiness with connection until the BDIX services are completely back to normal. Nevertheless, we want to express our profound sadness on the incident that happened in Khawaja Tower, Mohakhali on Thursday, October 26, 2023.
What happened: The fire at Khawaja Tower was said to have started at approximately 5 PM on Thursday, October 26, 2023. The fire quickly spread to different floors, and by 6:00 PM, the entire tower was engulfed. A total of 11 units were engaged in firefighting efforts, with additional support from the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Navy, and Bangladesh Air Force personnel. The fire was brought under full control after a couple of hours. The fire at Khawaja Tower caused three people to lose their lives and created extensive damage to the building and its contents.
The significance of the tower: Khawaja Tower is the largest telecom and data center hub in Bangladesh, built over the last decade. It houses the offices and infrastructure of many of the country’s leading internet service providers (ISPs), mobile network operators (MNOs), and other telecommunications companies. It also houses data centers/collocations for many businesses and organizations in Bangladesh. The building accommodates multiple separate data centers, each connected to many International Internet Gateways (IIG), ICX serving as service providers for hundreds of Internet Service Providers and telecom. Approximately 60-70% of Internet users in Bangladesh are currently encountering connectivity issues, while the incident has been hampering inter-operator calls as well.
Response of Divine IT Limited: Like many, Divine IT has also co-located some of its major services, applications, and storages for native customers in Khawaja Tower, along with its other data centers. On Friday, October 27, 2023, at approximately 2:00 PM, we were allowed to access the building to check on the systems and found the systems to be protected due to the proper fire fighting and fire suppression system of the partner data center. We immediately started shifting the racks and systems to its backup facility.
Historic internet network failure: Due to the building acting as the hub of the network, engineers from all connected network service providers, including ISPAB-NIX and BDIX, started working to reroute, shift, and upgrade the network to the backup facility. This is the largest internet network failure for the country for the first time and it is taking longer to restore and rebuild the network because this hub has been built over a decade period of time. Divine IT Limited salutes the transmission and system engineers who have been working continuously for the past 60 hours (which may take longer) to restore the network.
Condolence: This incident has caused us to lose three of our network contributors. We express our sincerest condolences to the families and loved ones of the three. This is a devastating loss, and our heart goes out to everyone who is grieving. We also want to express our sympathy to the entire Bangladeshi community and organizations, who were impacted by this fire. To the families of the deceased, we want to tell them that their loved ones will not be forgotten. They were brave and selfless individuals who lost their lives while serving their community. We will honor their memory by working to build a safer and more resilient Bangladesh.
Current state: We all may observe some slower connectivity over the country approximately for the next 7 days, which will be improving over every moment of hours. We request all our customers and users to be patient and report any difficulty they face. We also plead to our customers not to take any updates on the softwares for the next 7 days unless it is an emergency. Divine IT Limited is committed to serving its customers attentively every moment. We request all of our customers and partners to support us to grow together.
Disaster Recovery practices: Divine IT Limited is an ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certified company with a proper disaster recovery plan and team, which helps it to bring back affected services back to normal state in the shortest possible time, even in the event of a massive fire incident like this. We observed that customers who had scheduled backups instead of a real-time disaster recovery (DR) setup were affected fully by this incident. On the other hand, the customers who were having a DR setup with us were not affected fully in this incident. We request all of our customers to come up with a DR plan instead of a scheduled backup for the future safety of their businesses. Divine IT’s specialist team is always ready to consult on this matter.
Final statement: Divine IT Limited thanks all of its team members, NSP engineers, partners, and customers for their support during this difficult time. We are grateful for the dedication and hard work of everyone who has worked tirelessly to restore our services and minimize the disruption to our customers.
We are confident that we will emerge from this stronger than ever before. We remain committed to providing our customers with the highest quality services and support.