Pakistan and China are vigorously pursuing Fibre-Optic cable from the Chinese border to Rawalpindi. But Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), which is one of the main stakeholders, is yet to be taken on board, it is learnt.
This $44 million fiber optic cable is being laid between Pakistan and China and it will become another high-speed international connection to cater to the rapidly growing Internet traffic needs of Pakistan.
When completed, this back-haul fiber optic cable will provide Pakistan with a direct telecom access to China, Central Asian States and from there to Europe and to and from the United States.
The optic fiber will be laid between Rawalpindi and Khunjrab, covering a distance of 820 Kilometers.
High-ups at PTA revealed that Authority is yet to be approached about the project; however, it is ready to cooperate whenever there’s a need.
These situations were also confirmed by Chairman PTA Syed Ismail Shah on Thursday in a meeting of a parliamentary panel. “We have not been officially informed about the Fibre optic project under the CPEC”, said Shah.
It must be noted that this back haul fiber optic link was planned long ago and was in fact due for completion by Q4 2015, however, it is now perused under CPEC and may finally get delivered as per promised timelines.
Secretary Ministry of Information Technology, Mr. Azmat Ali Ranjha said that the task of the project has been given to Special Communications Organization (SCO). He said that PC-1 worth Rs 1.4 billion has been sent to the Planning Commission in this regard.
Pakistan is currently connected with the world through four undersea fiber optic cables, while another four are being built and will be operational in the next couple of years.
Pakistan’s current international links and bandwidth capacity include:
- TW1 with design capacity of 1.28Tbps
- Sea-Me-We-3 with 480 Gbps with two fibre pairs
- Sea-Me-We-4 with design capacity of 1.28Tbps
- I-ME-WE with Design Capacity of 3.86Tbps
Following international links with landing points in Pakistan are under construction:
- AAE-1 with design capacity of 40Tbps
- Sea-Me-We-5 with design capacity of 24Tbps
- Silk Road Gateway-1 (With landing points in Karachi and Gwadar)
- Pakistan-China Fiber Optic Back-Haul
It must be noted that both China and Pakistan have signed agreements for up-gradation of 1,300-kilometre Karakorum Highway connecting to Islamabad and laying a fiber-optic cable from the Chinese border to Rawalpindi.
The Exim bank China has agreed to provide the government a concessional loan at an interest rate of 2 % per annum for Cross Boarder Optic Fiber Project.
Pakistan will greatly benefit in terms of enhanced security and revenue from the state of the art optic fiber project between Pakistan and China, which will be undertaken by Huawei.