Pakistan Has Potential to Become Connectivity Hub for Entire Central Asia: Report

Pakistan, a country with over 185 million population and less than 13% internet penetration, is considered a struggling market for internet connectivity. But there’s no denying the fact that due to its geographical location, Pakistan has a lot to offer to the landlocked Central Asian states with crucial bandwidth access. This can turn Pakistan into the regional connectivity hub for entire Central Asia, according to a report released by ISOC today at the INet Conference in Islamabad.

Out of several Central Asian countries, such as Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, Pakistan possesses the highest international connectivity in the region at 400Gbps. This is due to the fact that all the other countries are landlocked and depend heavily on Russia for their international internet connectivity of any sort.

Not to mention, these Central Asian countries have very low rate of international internet connectivity — Afghanistan, for example has less than 30Gbps international bandwidth with other countries even having  lower bandwidth — which means Pakistan can not only tap a lucrative market but can also help internet uptake in these landlocked markets.

Pakistan will have to act fast or Iran, that’s equally well placed geographically, might avail the opportunity beforehand

‘With its coastline and direct access to submarine cable landing points, low bandwidth cost and throughput, Pakistan sits in an enviable strategic position,’ said the ISOC report that was exclusively shared with mediamen today.

The report stated that Pakistan has all the potentials in place to bridge access to international submarine cables and provide greater bandwidth to region as a whole. Pakistan therefore can become a natural “Southern Route” to connect Central Asia to international networks.

If Pakistan fails to avail the opportunity then Iran can eventually step in to fill the role, which borders more Central Asia countries than Pakistan does, warned the report.

Prerequisites to Consider

As one might imagine, before eyeing lucrative Central Asian countries, Pakistan will have to enable and expand access to its own population. With 400Gbps, Pakistan currently has 9Kbps bandwidth per individual in the country and this is exactly where Pakistan has to improve in order to be considered as the connectivity hub for Central Asian markets.

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ISOC said that any policy and regulatory choices — for better internet access within the country and beyond — are to be made now or Pakistan may lose the opportunity altogether.

If Pakistan is able to capitalize on its strategic geographical location and position itself as a service provider of international bandwidth to its land-locked neighbors, it will consolidate these early transitional developments and help accelerate transformation of the local digital economy.

Further Notes: Pakistan is to get 24 tera bits per second (Tbps) through I-ME-WE-5 submarine cable to enhance country’s international bandwidth by 600%.

Tech and telecom reporter with over 15 years of experience, he works as founder of ProPakistani.PK

  • Despite of all these facts more than 80% of Pakistanis still don’t have access to high-speed yet reliable internet because of poor infrastructure. First, we need to carter our own needs before proceeding.

  • The footnote really caught my eye… 24 tera bits??!
    That should adequately complete the needs of our country… but i dont think it’ll be anywhere near enough for making pakistan a central hub. Not to mention… our government doesnt like big investments which can prove fruitful for the country as apparently it spoils their reputation and well respected (read : corrupt) politicians.

    • iirc the 24Tb bandwidth isn’t just for Pakistan it’s to be shared between multiple countries that are enroute to France from Singapore. So the total bandiwdth of the line is 24Tb.

  • @aamir7:disqus Great work compiling this. I read your article a long time time back that PTCL and TW would be peering directly in Pakistan. Assuming that process it complete, why are we still getting 150-300 pings from TW to PTCL?

    • if you ever try tracer-ing in the cmd and copy and paste the ips to find their locations youll see that your bandwidth is routed through many different locations in pakistan then to karachi and then your destination which obviously is useless unless you need to spy on someone which is happening we all know xD
      Thats what all of lahore gets dunno if youre from here tho

  • no doubt about potential of Pakistan but the biggest problem in Pakistan is its law and order situation.
    the difference between Pakistan and India is only “law and order” situation.
    result is India is now far ahead of Pakistan in every field.

    • Yes there is a difference no doubt, at least we are not kill the innocent minority peoples of Pakistan but in India they killed Muslims badly
      Pakistan have a good law and order compared to the Indian law and order.

      • who said… the last few years, Pakistan topped in the number of bomb blasts and suicide attacks… more than Afghanistan and Iraq

        • What about today’s statistics how many blast attempted and how many peoples are died, Pakistan is stand now much better position and I told you about Muslims position in India, you did not read my answer correctly. Read it

  • The fact is Iran is more serious about internet connectivity than Pakistan. Further more central Asian states just don’t depend on Russia for bandwidth they are also connected with China. amir bhai just talks abt selective stuff.

  • Pakistan’s famous for being the country where GCHQ hacked into the core routers — and we never heard of a complaint from MoIT. Does that mean that “our agencies” are okay with such traffic monitoring of all Pakistanis by GCHQ?

    Why would the Central Asian countries think their traffic should go through us?

    • Janab our govt officials are the ones who do not know how to shutdown a computer. They either call the ‘kaka’ in the office, or simply pull the power plug.

  • Are you serious?

    Fix the country’s internal connectivity infrastructure first, then start contemplating about a “connectivity hub”.

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