Pakistan's Fiber Connectivity Growth

A $44 million 820 kilometer fiber optic cable being laid between Pakistan and China will be the 6th high-speed connection to add redundancy and to cater to rapidly growing Internet traffic from-to Pakistan. It is part of the $46 billion Pak-China Economic Corridor project recently agreed between the two neighbors.

Fiber Optic Network in Pakistan Source: KHL
Undersea Fiber Connectivity:

Pakistan is  currently connected with the world through four undersea fibre optic cables. These include India-Middle East-Western Europe (I-ME-WE),  Southeast Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 3 (SEA-ME-WE-3) and Southeast Asia-Middle-East-Western Europe 4 (SEA-ME-WE-4), operated by Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) and TWA-1, which is owned by Trans-World Associates. A fifth undersea cable called South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe (SEA-ME-WE)-5 is being laid to connect Pakistan with the rest of the world, according to Pakistani media reports.

Overland China-Pakistan Fiber:

The overland fibre optic cable is being laid by Chinese company Huawei between Rawalpindi and Khunjarab Pass on Pakistan-China border, a distance of 820 kilometers, according to media reports.

When completed, this project will provide Pakistan with a direct telecom access to China and the Central Asian States, and from there to Europe and the United States.

3G 4G Subscription Growth Source: PTA


Internet Traffic Growth:

The launch of 3G and 4G networks has accelerated the growth of Internet users in Pakistan. More than a million subscribers are signing up every month since the 3G and 4G rollout in the country last year. These new users are generating more and more data traffic requiring rapid increases in available bandwidth.

Pakistan ended March 2015 with over 12.07 million 3G/4G subscribers, up from 10.34 million in February, according to data from Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA). Telenor led the 3G/4G market with over 3.53 million subscribers, followed by CMPak (2.95 million 3G/4G subscribers), Mobilink (2.86 million 3G subscribers), and Ufone (2.66 million 3G subscribers). Warid had 66,140 LTE network subscribers at 31 March.

Thousands of kilometers long fiber network is currently in place to deal with the growing domestic bandwidth demand. Several projects are underway to grow this network further.

Redundancy and Reliability:

Pakistan needs multiple fiber connections to the outside world to prevent the kind of major Internet outages the country has suffered periodically for the last decade.

For example, a major disruption occurred in June 2005 when ALL Internet access from Pakistan was lost due to damage to the lone undersea fiber optic cable in the Arabian Sea connecting the nation with the rest of the world. There were satellite links but these links have very limited bandwidth. Even though the number of Internet users in Pakistan was relatively small at about 15-20 million, the impact on business was disproportionate. Traders on KSE reported as much as 80% drop in trading volume from this outage. All call center activities and other BPO vendors were severely affected.

Then there were more episodes of severe disruptions in 2008 when several undersea cables were cut. The Maldives were 100 percent down, followed by India, which had 82 percent disruption. Qatar, Djibouti and the United Arab Emirates were the next most widely affected areas with about 70 percent service interrupted. Disruptions for Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan ranged from 51 percent to 55 percent.

The increasing number of external fiber connections will help minimize disruptions in Internet connectivity and help deal with its impact on Pakistan's businesses, industry and security.

Summary:

High-speed Internet connectivity is at least as essential as other forms of communication, if not more so. Pakistan is investing in it for its economic and national security. Investments in this area need to be continuously boosted as the user base grows in the country.

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Comments

Mayraj said…
Research reveals that we are living through the largest investment boom in human history. Oxford University's Bent Flyvbjerg, an economic geographer who specializes in mega-project planning and management, estimates global mega-project spending at between $6-9 trillion annually. This is 8 percent of the world's combined GDP.
Mega-projects are not just moving with the times; they are growing in number and in scale at a terrific pace. Investments in behemoth infrastructure projects in the transportation, energy, water and agricultural sectors, in particular, are skyrocketing.
In a 2014 paper published in the Project Management Journal, Flyvbjerg noted that between 2004 and 2008, China alone "spent more on infrastructure in real terms than during the entire 20th century, ... an increase in spending rate of a factor of 20."
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/30495-mega-giga-tera-inside-the-biggest-investment-boom-in-history
Mega, Giga, Tera: Inside the Biggest Investment Boom in History
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pmj.21409/abstract;jsessionid=8AD0E0DAA96DEF0D1E706705D833EB50.f04t04

What You Should Know About Megaprojects and Why: An Overview
Riaz Haq said…
Mobile apps are of different kinds and serve different purposes. While young adults use apps such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and WhatsApp, entrepreneurs and businesspersons usually prefer apps that serve more professional purposes, such as Gmail, Google Finance, Microsoft Office and LinkedIn. Similarly, the apps developed to set reminders, count calorie intakes, order meals online and browse maps are now widely used and have become an important part of our lives. Seeing the consumers’ interest in using and preference for these apps, many companies have developed their own Android and iOS apps to target a wider audience.

Online shopping – an emerging trend

Pakistan has seen a marked increase in buying and selling things online, particularly over the last few years. This has boosted the e-commerce market in Pakistan, an opportunity which many businesses have seized on rather quickly and effectively, leading to a slew of classifieds websites and their apps jostling for a chunk of the market. And this phenomenon is not limited to everyday items or clothes, but has been extended to include cars and even real estate and household items. Shophive.com is an excellent example. It gives you chance to shop electronics and all the household items within your budget. Cash on delivery is the most favorite way of transaction for people living in the Pakistan which grantee security. It is also facilitating installments for the tenure of 6 months, a year and a year and half for the people based at Lahore. What else we need, easy to shop, ship and pay.

Over the past few years, the trend of online buying and selling of different commodities has increased markedly in Pakistan. With a boost in the e-commerce market, many business concerns have capitalized on the opportunity toseize the attention of online buyers by launching their apps in the market. The trend is not limited to smaller items of everyday use such as clothes, footwear, watchesand perfumes,et cetera, as real estate transactions and the sale and purchase of cars are also done online using mobile apps now.

A million properties in your pocket

Zameen.com, Pakistan’s top property portal, launched its mobile apps last year, which were welcomed warmly by property buyers, sellers, investors and real estate agents. The app gives its users easy access to a database of over 1 million property listings.

A line of automobiles

The mobile app of Pakwheels.com, the biggest automotive website in the country, has taken over the automobile industry of the country in a similar way, becoming an indispensable resource for those looking to buy or sell vehicles of all kinds and getting the best out of the automobile industry from the palm of their hands. There are many other similar examples which signify the increasing use of mobile apps in Pakistan.

3G/4G subscribers

The number of 3G/4G subscribers is increasing with every passing month in Pakistan. According to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, the number of total 3G/4G subscribersin Pakistan was 12,071,553 as of March 2015. This number was 10,342,191 in February 2015, which means a jump of 16.72% in only a month. We can safely assume that almost all of these subscribers are at least using several apps each.

The bottom line

Mobile apps have changed our lives and have assisted companies, individuals and even students in performing many of their tasks easily and effectively. In the time it took you to read this article, a number of apps will have been downloaded by Pakistanis around the country. This is the smartphone revolution at its peak.

http://paktribune.com/news/The-smartphone-app-revolution-in-Pakistan-273692.html
Riaz Haq said…
Information corridor key to success of #Pakistan-#China #CPEC - Global Times http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/928524.shtml#.VYzeKnqN1IU.twitter

Establishment of an information corridor will ensure the success of the China-­Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and yield many benefits, experts said. "In order to support, supplement and sustain the CPEC, there should also be an information corridor, which will serve as a platform between Chinese and Pakistani companies to provide database, share information and promote e-commerce between the two sides," Pakistani Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed, who is also the chairman of the Pakistani Senate Defense Committee, told the Global Times on June 16.

Sayed served as Pakistan's Minister of Information and Broadcasting during the 1990s.

Leading telecom network service supplier ZTE just completed a project called DTMB (digital terrestrial multimedia broadcast) in Pakistan in March.

The project allows residents around Islamabad, capital of Pakistan, to receive TV signals once they install a set-top box. The DTMB project belongs to the earlier harvest projects of the CPEC.

Experts said the project contributes to the establishment of an information corridor and brings Chinese telecom standards to Pakistan.

"Currently, there are four standards in the world: Chinese, European, Japanese and American. The project is significant as Pakistan is a country with a population of nearly 200 million," said Han Song, chief marketing officer of Zhongxing Telecom Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd, noting that it took five years to persuade Pakistani partners to adopt the Chinese standards.

Zhongxing Telecom Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd is ZTE's subsidiary in Pakistan.

"The upgrade from analog signals to digital signals means the number of available channels are multiplied. As the local media can only provide enough content for eight channels, the project creates room for Chinese media outlets to broadcast their programs after agreement with Pakistani authorities," Han told the Global Times on June 15.

"For example, after the completion of our program, the China Central Television began to air two channels of programs in Pakistan since March," said Han.

Chinese companies also help guard the cyber security of Pakistani clients.

"We are victims of cyber warfare from other countries so it is very important that we have cyber security and cyber protection on our own infrastructure," Sayed said, referring to Edward Snowden's leaks about the intelligence gathering project PRISM of the National Security Agency of the US.

"Many Chinese companies and foreign companies doing businesses in Pakistan may have concerns over cyber security in Pakistan. And we help them in this regard," Han said.

"Due to the all-weather relationship between China and Pakistan, there is a high level of trust over security issues," Han noted.

According to the 2014 annual report of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority published in January, the overall telecom investment in the country reached $1.82 billion in fiscal year 2014, a 200 percent increase over the $600 million in 2013.

Pakistani telecom sector attracted over $903 million in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the fiscal year 2014, accounting for 34.2 percent of the total FDI received by Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
#Digital age: #Pakistan, #China agree to develop e-corridor http://tribune.com.pk/story/1006499/digital-age-pakistan-china-agree-to-develop-e-corridor/ …
Pakistan and China have agreed to develop an e-corridor to establish greater connectivity, keeping in view the importance of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The agreement was reached during a meeting of a high-level Chinese delegation, led by China Investment Promotion Centre Chairman Yan Lijin, with Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunications Anusha Rehman.

The minister apprised the delegation of the potential of Pakistan’s IT and telecom sector and how the ministry was working to reap this potential in an optimal way. “We believe in a ‘Digital Pakistan’ and Chinese cooperation and collaboration will help us to materialise this vision of accelerated digitisation,” she said.

“We are awarding the ‘Tech-city’ project on January 7 next year. It is an incubation project meant for the training of young entrepreneurs. Likewise, we intend also to establish a research and innovation centre of international standard.”

She said the ministry was already collaborating for the development of an ‘e-commerce gateway framework’ so that online commercial ventures could flourish further and consumers and companies could get more confidence in online payment systems. “We would like to invite international companies to establish their setups here in Pakistan as well,” she added.
Riaz Haq said…
SRG1: #Pakistan to Lay a New Submarine Cable With Capacity of 20Tbps for growing #Internet data traffic http://propakistani.pk/2016/05/11/srg1-pakistan-to-get-a-new-submarine-cable-with-capacity-of-20tbps/ …

Multinet Pakistan, a voice and data company, and Omantel of Oman yesterday announced the initiation of a new submarine cable network “Silk Route Gateway 1” to connect Karachi with Barka (near Muscat in Oman) with a strategic landing point at Gawadar in future.

SRG1 is going to be 900 kilometer long submarine cable with two fiber pairs system design with capacity of 10Tbps of communication per fiber pair.

Future extension of SRG1 includes a branching unit through Gawadar to connect the next economic hub of Asia with a direct international link.

Current consortium members for SRG1 are Multinet and Omantel and they are already in talks to accept another one or at most two members to be part of SRG1.

Multinet said that SRG1 will be completed and operational in 18 months from today at a cost of USD 24 million.

For the purpose SRG1 consortium yesterday signed Xtera as turnkey vendor for the establishment and maintenance of submarine cable.

Upon completion, Pakistan will immediately get 200Gbps of additional bandwidth, however, this capacity could be upped to 20Tbps with time, mainly based on market demand.

With Multinet as part of SRG1, the duopoly of PTCL and TW1 in space of international bandwidth will end.

Market sources suggest that Multinet’s entrance in market is going to reduce internet bandwidth prices for Pakistani ISPs and telcos by at least 60%. Sources said that current bandwidth rate of USD 3,000 per STM1 are expected to hit USD 1,200 per STM1 till end of 2017.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan's Storm Fiber Offers 30Mbps #FTTH Broadband for Just Rs. 3,999 in #Karachi, #Lahore https://propakistani.pk/2016/08/15/storm-fiber-offers-30mbps-unlimited-broadband-for-just-rs-3999/ … via @ProPakistaniPK


While 3G/4G mobile internet has catered to the nation’s demand for high-speed internet, it is just not viable for everyone; especially for businesses and power users who need to consume high volumes of data at very high speeds.

There’s a reason the west has resorted to FTTH and that’s mainly due to its reliability, consistency and capacity to control higher data speeds.

While FTTH in Pakistan is comparatively a new phenomenon, mainly due to its limited coverage, things have started to change now.

Storm Fiber, a Cybernet company, is offering its FTTH services in Lahore and Karachi at unbelievable prices.

For example, you can enjoy 30Mbps for just Rs. 3,999. This price includes cable TV and fixed line as well as a value addition.

Not to mention, this speed of 30Mbps is valid for both uploads as well as for downloads.

Storm Fiber said that these prices are excluding taxes, but there’s no limit on download/upload and customers can enjoy true unlimited data connections throughout the month.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan’s first #Internet Exchange Point connecting #ISPs and #CDNs is now up and running

http://www.dawn.com/news/1295925/pakistans-first-internet-exchange-point-is-now-up-and-running

Pakistan has established its first Internet Exchange Point (IXP) for all local ISPs that will help reduce latency rates for all domestic traffic.
Internet Exchange Point (IXP) is a physical infrastructure through which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Contact Delivery Networks (CDNs) exchange internet traffic between their networks.
The primary purpose of an IXP is to allow networks to interconnect directly, via the exchange, rather than through one or more third-party networks.
Previously Pakistani Internet traffic was routed through foreign internet networks and exchanges, even for local traffic. This will change now as local peering will be allowed, ultimately resulting into lower pings and response times for domestic requests.
Under the headship of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and in collaboration with Internet Society (ISOC), this IXP has been established in the premises of Higher Education Commission (HEC).
Syed Ismail Shah, Chairman PTA, while speaking exclusively with ProPakistani confirmed that IXP is up and running for last two weeks as a test.
Dr. Shah said that hardware is being setup and exchange will formally be launched next month. Chairman PTA also said that more local internet exchanges will be set up in Lahore and Karachi soon.
The IXP was one of the integral part of the Telecommunication Policy 2015 that has been implemented now.
According to the Telecommunication Policy 2015, "Internet and other traffic will be exchanged within Pakistan using local peering or exchange points as far as it is possible to do so, recognizing that the use of international peering points in other countries imposes an unnecessary cost burden and a potential security risk."
"PTA will take appropriate measures in consultation with stakeholders to encourage establishment of local peering and exchange points of IP traffic on legally established gateways in Pakistan."
If a customer is using a local ISP and if a ping is sent for a website or server that is hosted on TransWorld for example, then traffic is routed through international exchanges that reside outside Pakistan. This traffic will now be routed within our local Internet Exchange after its set up.
Such an internet request, which is local — and distance between client and server could be just few kilometres — has to travel the all way to an exchange that’s hosted abroad and then will hit back local server after travelling thousands of kilometres, increasing latency rates and decreasing data transfer rates.
This internet exchange is going to help local hosting companies, data centres, service providers, banks, corporations and everyone who is hosting websites or services with-in Pakistan. It will also benefit ISPs greatly by not only enhancing their performance but also by reducing their bandwidth costs.
Ismail Shah said PTA has always encouraged new ideas and supported initiatives for the betterment of telecom sector. Setting up of IXP is one such new initiative that will help in improving internet access, business environment and local content.
Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan #broadband subscribers reached 38m in October: PTA. #3G #4G #Internet

http://nation.com.pk/business/17-Nov-2016/broadband-subscribers-reached-38m-in-october-pta

The total number of broadband subscribers has crossed 38 million by the end of October 2016. According to the latest data of Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the number of broadband users has reached 38076286. Addition of 35.45 million mobile broadband subscribers Since the launch of 3G and 4G LTE services, mobile broadband subscribers have reached 35.45 million. The total usage of data during September 16 to October 16 was 53,340 terabytes. 2G share remained 87 percent in terms of voice, while 13 percent was data share. In 3G technology, 3 percent was voice, while 97 percent was data usage.

Before 3G and 4G launch, the total volume was 1,243 Tbs in January 2014, whereas, it increased gradually after 3G launched. In December 14, the total usage was 6,903 terabytes which increased to 23,980 in December 2015. In September 2016, the data usage was 45,672 terabytes. The PTA data also claimed that the teledensity has reached to around 71 percent. It indicates that majority of people now have access to basic voice telephony, mostly on mobile phones.
Riaz Haq said…
#CPEC #Fiberinternet Cable Connecting #Pakistan & #China Will Be Completed In 2017. #fiber http://pakchinanews.pk/cpec-fiber-optic-connecting-pakistan-china-will-be-completed-in-2017/ …

The project designed to connect Pakistan with China via high speed fiber optic cable is anticipated to be finalized by next year. It will complete one year ahead of the actual time.

The first part of $44 million project started this year under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project. Work on eight divisions of 100-125 kilometers length has already started. By engaging special tools, human resource and services the venture is expected to be completed by next year.

While talking to The Nation, Director Pakistan-China Optical Fiber Cable project Colonel Waseem Ahmed, revealed that 820 kilometer fiber optic cable will be placed from Khunjerab to Rawalpindi. And in second phase the cable will be laid from Rawalpindi to Gwadar and Karachi.

Special Communications Organization (SCO) an affiliated department of Pakistan Army was given the job to offer telecom services in the mountainous area after T&T botched to provide telecom facilities in hard geographic localities of AJK and GB. In fiber optic project also the organization will have to contest against life-threatening weather and other tasks.

As per the project cable will be put down from hilly areas of Khunjerab to Karimabad, Naran, Masnsehra, Abbottabad, Taxila, and Rawalpindi, one of the hard lands of the country.

Ahmed further added that weather, physical conditions and extreme low temperatures are the major obstacles of the first phase of the project. He said that due to extreme weather at Babusar top and some areas in Chillas and Sost, his organization has employed specified tools.

Once finished, this back-haul fiber optic cable will offer Pakistan with a direct telecom access to China, Central Asian States and from there to Europe and to and from the United States.

At present, Pakistan is connected with the world via four undersea fiber optic cables, whereas other five are in progress and will be working in the upcoming years.

Riaz Haq said…
SEA-ME-WE 5 Consortium,with Transworld Associates #Pakistan, builds 20,000-km subsea fiber sys http://www.rcrwireless.com/20161219/network-infrastructure/20161219network-infrastructure20161219network-infrastructuresubsea-fiber-system-tag23 … via @rcrwirelessnews

The fiber system connects countries in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Western Europe

The SEA-ME-WE 5 Consortium completed deployment of a 20,000-kilometer subsea fiber infrastructure developed by a 16-nation consortium.

The system is designed with 24 terabits per second of capacity on three-fiber pairs, said it be capable of accommodating data demand from bandwidth-intensive applications such as enterprise data exchange, internet TV and online gaming. The consortium noted the cable’s main endpoints are carrier-neutral/open points-of-presence connecting Singapore with Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Oman, the United Arab Republic, Qatar, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Djibouti, Egypt, Turkey, Italy and France.

“The completion of the SE-ME-WE 5 project is a landmark system upgrade for all data users worldwide. This system facilitates a new age of digital transformation and innovation, catalyzing greater economic activities, trade and growth across three continents,” said Linette Lee, chairperson of the SEA-ME-WE 5 Consortium Management Committee.

Consortium members include Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company, China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, China United Network Communications Group Company, Djibouti Telecom, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, Myanmar Post and Telecom, Ooredoo, Orange, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International, Saudi Telecom Company, Singapore Telecommunications, Sparkle, Sri Lanka Telecom PLC, Telecom Egypt, Telekom Malaysia Berhad, TeleYemen, Turk Telekom International and Trans World Associates Limited Pakistan.
Riaz Haq said…
Damage to fibre optic cables disrupts PTCL, cellular services in Pakistan

http://www.dawn.com/news/1304593/damage-to-fibre-optic-cables-disrupts-ptcl-cellular-services-in-pakistan

PTCL data and cellular services in different parts of the country were disrupted Monday owing to a major fault in the PTCL back-end network.

Internet subscribers of different cellular companies reportedly also faced difficulties due to the disruption, it was reported.

The outage also brought to halt Pakistan Railway's e-ticketing system.

PTCL and Ufone subscribers in Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar reported degraded services, according to DawnNews.

Ufone is a wholly-owned subsidiary of PTCL. Both companies use the same cable to provide internet services, reported DawnNews.

Outages were also confirmed in Mandi Bahauddin, Rajanpur, Multan, Jhelum, Hyderabad and Larkana.

PTCL spokesperson said that it was a multiple cable cut at different places which caused the breakdown and the authorities are investigating the case.

The officials said efforts were underway to restore the services. However, company sources declined to provide a timeline in which the problem would be rectified, reported DawnNews.

“The restoration work has started, its being carried out at areas near Karachi and Hub,” the spokesperson added.

In a tweet from the official PTCL Twitter account, the company said: “We are currently facing major outage on our network, due to which internet service to some of our users have been affected.”

"Our teams are working on-ground to restore the service as soon as possible. We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused."

Imran Janjua, General Manager Public Outreach, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) said teams have been dispatched to identify the cause of disruption.

PTCL officials also clarified that their land-line services are working fine across the country.

In a separate unverified tweet from a local Twitter account, it was claimed that developmental work in Karachi's Nooriabad area caused damage to PTCL's fibre optic network, resulting in the outage.

Riaz Haq said…
#Pakistan adds around 700,000 #3G #4G subscribers in February 2017 to bring total to 39 million #mobile #Broadband https://www.telecompaper.com/news/pakistan-adds-around-700000-3g4g-subscribers-in-february--1190254#.WN0lRRWgLG4.twitter …

Pakistan added 692,741 3G/4G subscribers in February this year, ending the month with over 38.96 million 3G/4 G subscribers, up from 38.26 million in January, according to a report from Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA). Mobilink (Jazz) led the 3G/4G market with over 12.7 million subs¬cribers, followed by Telenor (10.6 million 3G and 4G subscribers), CMPak (10.7 million 3G and 4G subscribers), and Ufone (4.8 million 3G subscribers). Warid had 637,363 LTE network subscribers at end-February.

http://www.pta.gov.pk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=269&Itemid=658
Riaz Haq said…
Army seeks fibre optic cables along CPEC
https://www.dawn.com/news/1310593

A top military official on Tuesday said some incoming and outbound internet traffic landed in India before being routed to its destinations, posing a security risk for Pakistan.

“The network which brings internet traffic into Pakistan through submarine cables has been developed by a consortium that has Indian companies either as partners or shareholders, which is a serious security concern. We would like to propose a new alternative network system to be set up in Gwadar for the flow of internet traffic,” Director General Special Communications Organisation (SCO) Maj-Gen Amir Azeem Bajwa informed the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology during a briefing.

Mr Bajwa was seeking approval for the establishment of a cross-border optic fiber connectivity network under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP).

The project will include laying of over 800 kilometres fibre optic cables along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) starting from Khunjerab to Rawalpindi to Gwadar and finally terminating in Karachi.

He explained to the lawmakers that a consortium - without Indian partners - would be engaged to lay the network along the CPEC.

“Security of CPEC and its related projects is of utmost priority for Pakistan,” Mr Bajwa said.

According to the general, the new network will link Pakistan with the outside world through China. It will also reduce Pakistan’s dependency on submarine cables that are often damaged, disrupting internet services in the country.

After the army officer convinced the members on the strategic importance of the project, the committee approved it and directed the Ministry of Information Technology (IT) and the SCO to work together on the plan.

The committee expressed displeasure over the failure of government departments and divisions to switch to an automated office environment.

The e-office project was started in 2007 and revised in 2011-12. The project deadline is set for June 2017. The committee felt that the project had been prolonged.

After the Ministry of Information Technology spent $480 million and trained more than 7,000 government employees on e-office, only a handful of offices such as the Establishment Division and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the commerce ministry switched to the paperless environment.

Minister of State for IT Anusha Rehman said her office had done its part to train government employees on the computerised systems.

“However, most ministries and divisions are unwilling to adopt the new advanced mechanism and resisting the change. We proposed to the prime minister twice to make it mandatory for all offices to switch to the automated office environment at the earliest,” said Ms Rehman.

Realising that the automated system would ensure transparency and efficiency, the committee chairman, MNA Mohammad Safdar of the PML-N, directed the state minister to take up the matter with the prime minister in the next cabinet meeting.

MNA Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari of the PML-N suggested discussing the matter in the National Assembly to emphasise the importance of e-office.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan gets new undersea 40Tb/sec Internet cable -- doubling Pakistan's existing Internet bandwidth ... https://propakistani.pk/2017/06/29/pakistan-gets-new-submarine-cable-design-capacity-40-tbs-per-second/ …

Pakistan is now connected with a new submarine cable system with design capacity of at least 40 Terabits per second across 5 fiber pairs as AAE-1 (also called Asia-Africa-Europe-1) announced the commencement of its operations just moments ago.

AAE-1 is worlds largest submarine cable spanning over 25,000 KMs and is one of the first cable system to connect Hong Kong, Singapore, Middle East with Africa and Europe.

AAE-1 consortium, that coordinated efforts to complete the project in 10 years, include China Unicom, CIL (HyalRoute), Djibouti Telecom, Etisalat, GT5L, Mobily, Omantel, Ooredoo, OTEG, PCCW, PTCL, Reliance Jio, Retelit, Telecom Egypt, TeleYemen, TOT, Viettel, VNPT and VTC.

In Pakistan, the cable will be operated and managed by PTCL.

AAE-1 will immediately increase Pakistan’s international bandwidth pipe multiple-folds and will make country’s international connection more redundant.

New submarine cable will also help Pakistan meet its bandwidth needs as the internet usage in the country is on the rise.

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
AAE-1 with design capacity of 40Tbps
Sea-Me-We-5 with design capacity of 24Tbps
Following international links with landing points in Pakistan are under construction:

Silk Route Gateway-1 with design capacity of 20Tbps
Pakistan-China Fiber Optic Back-Haul
Riaz Haq said…
Exclusive: The CPEC plan for Pakistan’s digital future
A new, upgraded cross-border fibre optic cable will address multiple challenges faced by China and Pakistan.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1361176

A radical overhaul of Pakistan’s communications framework appears to be on the cards — or at least that is what Beijing and Islamabad have envisioned under their Long Term Plan (LTP) for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

A closer examination of the LTP document obtained in June by Dawn reveals intentions for a revamped communications framework, which includes components such as a fibre optic cable connecting Pakistan and China, a new submarine landing station for internet traffic flow, and digital TV for all.

The roadmap, which was developed from November 2013 to December 2015 by officials and experts from both countries, contains a detailed 21-page outline specific to communications – a plan envisioned to span up to 15 years, starting in 2016 and concluding in 2030.

The most critical component is a new, upgraded fibre optic cable network which spans Pakistan and crosses the border to connect directly with China.

As outlined in the master plan, the cross-border fibre optic cable will address multiple challenges faced by China and Pakistan.

Firstly, it says it will handle the anticipated increase in communication between the two countries. With “deepening comprehensive strategic cooperation” comes the need to establish fast, reliable connectivity – and perhaps most critically – communication that is not routed through Europe, the United States or India.

China also has in mind its own increasing international telecommunications service demands which, if not addressed, may end up exposing “a huge gap” in China’s international bandwidth.

If actualised according to the LTP, the new network will be beneficial to Pakistan by improving internet penetration and increasing speed, especially in Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, regions where internet connectivity has ranged from poor to non-existent. It should also reduce the cost of internet connections.

Additionally, linking with the rest of the world through China will help reduce Pakistan’s dependence on undersea cables that carry the country’s internet traffic. In cases where the undersea cables develop a fault — as has occurred in the past — the document says another route would be in place.

More broadly, the new network would provide landlocked central Asian states a new, shorter and more cost-effective route for connectivity.

The existing fibre optic network through which Pakistan connects to the world has been developed by a consortium that has Indian companies either as partners or shareholders.

This is viewed as a security concern e.g. when it comes to surveillance of communication. As recently as January this year, Director General Special Communications Organisation (SCO) Maj Gen Amir Azeem Bajwa informed the National Assembly Standing Committee on Information Technology that some incoming and outbound internet traffic landed in India before being routed to its destinations, posing a security risk for Pakistan.

It appears that by routing through China, the state is planning to reduce such security risks related to India. This would however increase the same risks from China itself. The Chinese model of internet regulation could potentially also impact freedom of speech and access to information for Pakistani users.

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