Govt Initiates New Policy to Address Low Fiber Density Crisis in Pakistan

Ministry of IT and Telecommunication documents have revealed concerning statistics regarding Pakistan’s low fiber density, standing at a mere 0.45%.

With approximately 164,000 km of Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) deployed across the nation, only a fraction of cellular towers, between 9-11%, are connected to Optical Fiber Cable (OFC), and merely 1.1 million subscribers enjoy fiber-to-home services.

According to the document available with Propakistani, in response to this critical situation, the Government has taken action by launching the National Ferberization Policy, aimed at incentivizing investments in optical fiber networks throughout the country.

The government’s ambitious targets include increasing optical fiber deployment to 200,000 km, expanding optical fiber coverage to 4 million subscribers, and achieving a fiber-to-site penetration rate of 75%.

Additionally, the Ministry of IT has drafted a concept paper for the Right of Way Facilitation for Digital Connectivity, designed to streamline the process of private sector investment in optical fiber network deployment. This policy seeks to expedite both long-haul and metro network installations, as well as fiber-to-tower deployments, in a cost-effective manner.

According to the Ministry of IT and Telecom, the proactive support from the secretary cabinet division is evident, as fees for Right of Way access along highways and railway tracks have been harmonized, along with fees for bridges, culverts, and crossings on national highways and railways.

Furthermore, efforts are underway to align Right-of-way fees in areas under defense authorities with those in areas under cantonment boards.

The ministry underscores the multifaceted benefits of heightened fiberization, emphasizing its potential to transcend mere improvements in internet speeds. With an eye toward the impending launch of 5G technology in Pakistan, the correlation between fiberization efforts and 5G penetration underscores the strategic importance of these initiatives in catapulting the country’s digital infrastructure into the modern age.

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