The Special Communication Organization (SCO) has sought the services of a consulting firm for a survey, feasibility study, and market analysis of a project named “extension of optical transmission network in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.”
The project was approved by the Departmental Development Working Parties (DDWP) in June 2022, and the federal government allocated a meager Rs. 50 million for 2022-23 in the federal budget in this reference.
Sources told ProPakistani that the project was delayed due to the non-availability of funds as the Planning Commission converted the project into PC-II. The Special Communication Organization proposed a five years project for the extension of the optical transmission network to Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan PC-I but the planning commission allocated only Rs. 50 million for the project survey and feasibility study.
When contacted, an SCO official said that under the master project, SCO plans to lay 700 kilometers of optical fiber every year in Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. SCO is the largest service provider and is working on the optical fiber expansion plan to provide high-speed internet in the region.
The source said that if funds were available, SCO would have started work on the project this year. SCO will hire a consultant for the project survey and feasibility study only and work on the actual project will start after the allocation of funds in the 2023-24 budget.
As the expansion plan progresses, connectivity issues in various areas will be resolved and startups, freelancers, and other users in remote hilly areas will get better facilities, he added.