PEACE Cable: Pakistan's Tenth High Bandwidth Submarine Cable Ready to Go Live

Pakistan and East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE) cable, a  96 TBPS (terabits per second), 15,000 km long submarine cable, is now ready for service. This brings to 10 the total number of submarine cables currently connecting or planned to connect Pakistan with the world: TransWorld1, Africa1 (2023), 2Africa (2023), AAE1, PEACE,  SeaMeWe3, SeaMeWe4, SeaMeWe5, SeaMeWe6 (2025) and IMEWE. PEACE cable has two landing stations in Pakistan: Karachi and Gwadar. SeaMeWe stands for Southeast Asia Middle East Western Europe, while IMEWE is India Middle East Western Europe and AAE1 Asia Africa Europe 1. 

PEACE Cable. Source: Cybernet

PEACE is a privately owned submarine cable that originates in Karachi, Pakistan and runs underwater all the way to Marseilles, France via multiple points in the continent of Africa.  It is being built as part of the Digital Silk Road sponsored by China. Cybernet is the local landing and global connectivity partner of PEACE Cable System in Pakistan. It is designed to enable high-speed access to a variety of content, cloud computing, gaming and video streaming platforms.  

Map of Submarine Cable Connections to Karachi, Pakistan. Source: TeleGeography

The PEACE Pakistan-Egypt segment connects Karachi, Pakistan and Zafarana, Egypt, spanning a total length of 5,800 km. The landings of Karachi and Zafarana were completed in March and December 2021 respectively, according to a press release of PEACE Cable International Network Co., Ltd. In addition, the Mediterranean segment of PEACE linking Marseille, France, to Abu Talat, Egypt, a 3,200km long project, has also achieved RFS in March 2022. Therefore, the route from Pakistan to France of the PEACE cable system is now fully constructed and ready for use.

Telecom Services Subscriptions in Pakistan as of June, 2022. Source: PTA

Number of broadband subscribers and demand for data has seen rapid double digit growth in Pakistan over the last several years. Number of broadband subscriptions has grown to 119 million, representing 53.92% of population. Per user data consumption has nearly tripled from 2.1 gigabytes per month in 2017-18 to 6.1 gigabytes per month in 2020-21. As of June 2022, it exceeds 7 GB per subscriber per month. Telecom service providers are responding to it by increasing the capacity of the Internet by laying more and higher bandwidth fiber cables and adding faster speed equipment. Ookla’s data reveals that the median mobile internet connection speed in Pakistan increased by 3.43 Mbps (+26.5%) in the twelve months to the start of 2022.
Per User Data Demand Growth. Source: Pakistan Telecom Authority 

Pakistan Per Subscriber Per Month Data Use

Worldwide Mobile Data Use Per Subscriber Per Month. Source: Statista

Cybernet, the landing partner of PEACE in Pakistan, claims it has built the country’s state-of-the-art, Cable Landing Station in Karachi, which will allow global carriers, Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), content providers and virtually all IT-enabled firms to tap into the submarine cable capacity at easily accessible interconnect points across Pakistan. 


Riaz Haq said…
Hey Internet Users of Pakistan, Expect More Shark Internet Attacks in Coming Days

Over the last month, Pakistan’s internet services have been continuously experiencing small and large issues. Major internet service providers such as PTCL, Cybernet and Ufone just last week experienced a nationwide breakdown because of a fiber cable breakage. These constant internet problems and interruptions have been causing a lot of damage to Pakistan’s IT-dependent sectors, which have been filing complaints ever since the beginning of this bad internet fiasco.

Internet service providers after receiving tons of complaints announced that these internet problems are caused by constant flooding in areas such as the Sukkur division, where important internet fiber cables are located. With flood water still present in the areas, there is no way internet cables can be fixed quickly.

Upon investigating the matter, PTA has found out that the main reason behind the damage to the internet cable is the trenches that local villagers have dug throughout the Sukkur division. These trenches were dug by the locals to prevent flood water from entering their villages. On the other hand, PTCL believes that these cable damages have been caused by the heavy machinery being used to drain flood water from affected areas.

Claims from both the authorities have cleared the picture and have proved that the internet problems were caused by floods and that it wasn’t a cyberattack from an enemy country and certainly not from the infamous cable-eating sea shark.

According to a report by PTCL, internet fiber cables placed in Ghotki, Khairpur and Sukkur districts are severely affected whereas the most damage has occurred in the tehsil Ranipur of Khairpur district.

But is this the end to this internet damage? Sadly, no, according to Minister for IT and Telecom Syed Aminul Haque, the damages caused to internet cables are pretty serious and with heavy rainfalls, the damage can only be expected to increase.

“Due to extensive flooding, most of the pathways of underground cables have been submerged, as relief workers or locals were trying to divert floodwater by digging trenches on roads and footpaths. The ministry has directed PTCL to declare an emergency so that repair work could be initiated when any such incident is reported in the system, while the PTA is constantly monitoring the quality of service” said the minister.

According to an IT ministry representative, cable damages are normal in conditions like these, but things can get bad when optic-fiber cables get hit. He also added that while these damages have caused internet problems in most parts of the country, cities in the south of Sindh such as Karachi, Hyderabad, and Gwadar still have good internet.
Riaz Haq said…
'Pakistan: The Next Great Infrastructure Connector' Discussed at 'Thought Leaders Dialogue - Pakistan' Session

The Atlantic Council is a nonpartisan organization that promotes constructive leadership and engagement in international affairs and helps shape policy choices and strategies to create a more free, secure, and prosperous world.

The discussed brief explores a yet unchartered future pathway for Pakistan for the country to unlock the potential of its geo-strategic location, to connect landlocked Central Asia, the natural resources of the Middle East, and the markets of China and India.

Drawing a parallel to Turkey, which has successfully capitalized on its location through the development of its infrastructure, Ambassador Siddiqui built a strong case for Pakistan's economic growth and regional economic security. During the talk, he emphasized the need to rapidly deliver on developing connectivity infrastructure to drive shared prosperity and growth across the region.

The paper details the accelerated development of Gas, Electricity, Road, Rail, and Fiber Optic connections in the last decade and proposes that current infrastructure combined with planned developments must be synced to actualize Pakistan's potential as a regional connector. Ambassador Siddiqui believes that "realizing this potential within the next decade is entirely possible." As the country develops into the next great connector, regional governments and the private sector will not just have the opportunity to participate in this growth but also bind its destiny towards a shared and prosperous future. The paper highlights that many opportunities are already attracting the interest of regional players who stand to benefit directly and must also be explored by investors who stand to be rewarded in a manner similar to Turkey.

Muhammad Azfar Ahsan believes that "Pakistan's location is its core strength and will determine its rise as the most influential of energy corridors for regional prosperity. It will also directly impact and improve Pakistan's prosperity, stability, and security."

The Brief was originally launched and promoted ahead of the Global Energy Forum being hosted by the Atlantic Council at the Dubai Expo, in conjunction with the World Government Summit in March 2022. The launch of this Issue Brief successfully placed Pakistan at the forefront of constructive international dialogue and now the national discourse.

To read the full issue brief:
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan: The next great infrastructure connector
By Ali Jehangir Siddiqui

Pakistan sits at the crossroads of the abundant resources of Central Asia and the Middle East, and the lucrative markets of China and India. It therefore has the potential to play a significant connecting role, one that enables broader regional interdependency while boosting domestic economic prospects. Several projects in infrastructure and energy in recent years have already laid the groundwork for this transformation.

But more can be done. Pakistan’s network, though rapidly advancing, is not yet ready to take on these responsibilities. However, there are considerable opportunities; from energy transportation and roadbuilding to digital connectivity and rail access, if Pakistan pursues significant infrastructure improvements, it has a chance to assume the mantle of the region’s great connector.

Riaz Haq said…
Chinese Hunan Sunwalk Group Keen to Invest in Pakistan's Telecom Infrastructure

China’s Hunan Sunwalk Group said on Monday that it will spend several billion dollars on Pakistan’s Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities to establish telecom infrastructure and fiber industry. According to Sunwalk Investments’ chief business officer, Afshan Amin, the nation’s broadband adoption will be increased for the digital revolution, which will benefit not only the business-to-business sector but also the government, enterprise firms, and end consumers.

Founded in 2000, Hunan Sunwalk Group is a multibillion-dollar, well-known Chinese company engaged in the construction of telecommunications infrastructure. Amin said that Sunwalk Group intends to concentrate on optic fiber and backhaul connection in Pakistan due to anticipated data digital demand and the incorporation of impending 5th-generation mobile technologies.

Previously, Sunwalk Group CEO Pakistan Mr. Lan held a meeting with the Federal Minister of IT and Telecom, Syed Amin ul Haque. Mr. Lan informed the Federal Minister for IT regarding investment plans for establishing a statewide Optical fiber network and facilitating the growth of broadband in Pakistan.

Mr. Lan stated that his organization is prepared to invest approximately $2 billion over the next 8 to 10 years.
Federal Minister for IT Syed Amin Ul Haque thanked and commended the SUN WALK group for their interest in the Pakistani market, and he pledged his full support for the group’s endeavors.

Riaz Haq said…
‘One Network’ catches the eye at IDEAS-22

The ‘One Network’ is an advanced communication project, under which 3,000 kilometres of underground fibre optic cable is being laid along the motorways across Pakistan. After the completion of the project, it would meet Pakistan's telecommunication requirements.

According to the One Network chief operating officer (COO), 2,000 kilometres of fibre optic cable haf been laid under the motorways communication infrastructure. People traveling on the motorways would get relief from the rush situations. It would also eliminate cash payments at toll plazas.

The system would also be linked to the motorway police to keep check on any violation of the traffic rules, such as wearing of seat belt and the speed limit. Besides, in case of emergency, people would get timely recovery or rescue assistance.

The ‘One Network’ covers M1 to M16 Motorways in Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore, Pindi Bhattian, Multan, Sukkur, Karachi, Hyderabad, Sialkot, Dera Ismail Khan, Swat and Hazara, besides the Lahore Ring Road and Lahore-Faisalabad route.

The FWO is also conducting six diploma courses. According to the principal of this project, Col (retd) Atif, about 45 short courses of three to six months of duration were also offered. The graduated from here were associated with technical fields in Pakistan and other countries.
Riaz Haq said…
5G technology to be launched next year

The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication is likely to launch 5G technology next year in the country to cope with the challenges of the digital world. The official of ministry of IT and telecommunication said that the provision of broadband services across the country was the topmost priority of the ministry of IT. He said that the ministry of IT through the Universal Service Fund (USF) had launched some 70 projects of optical fiber cable (OFC) and broadband infrastructure development in four provinces at a cost of Rs 65 billion. “All projects are underway in far-flung areas would be completed by June next year,” he added. “In the province of Sindh alone, 20 projects of NGBSD and OFC worth Rs16.3 billion have been started so far in 20 districts, including Tharparkar, Nawabshah, Khairpur, Larkana, Badin, Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Mirpurkhas, and Dadu,” the official said. He said that projects of connectivity of the un-served and underserved communities of Balochistan, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provinces had also been launched. He said, through USF aimed to connect all the citizens of the country as digitalisation had become a priority for businesses and communities. Under its Next Generation Optic Fiber (NG-OF) Network and Services programme, USF had contracted over 16,000km of Optic Fiber Cable (OFC) to benefit 31.5 million populations across the country.
Riaz Haq said…
ONE Network, Cybernet complete first phase of cross-country long-haul fiber network

A new ultra-low latency long-haul fiber network is being deployed jointly by One Network, the largest ICT and Intelligent Traffic and Electronic Tolling System operator in Pakistan, and Cybernet, a leading fiber broadband provider. The network will span the entire length of the country and provide much-needed capacity and redundancy to the communications, internet, and media infrastructure in numerous cities, towns, and districts.

The first phase of the project, which includes 1,800 km of fiber network along motorways and road sections linking Karachi to Hyderabad (M-9 Motorway), Multan to Sukkur (M-5 Motorway), Abdul Hakeem to Lahore (M-3 Motorway), Swat Expressway (M-16), Lahore to Islamabad (M-2 Motorway) and separately from Lahore to Sialkot (M-11 Motorway), Gujranwala, Daska and Wazirabad have been deployed.

Both partners are now moving expeditiously to install and test a multi-terabit transport network and attain ready-for-service (RFS).

The second phase which includes Hyderabad to Sukkur, Multan to Pindi Bhattian (M-4 Motorway), Hazara Expressway (E-35), Hakla to D.I.Khan (M-14 Motorway), and Islamabad to Peshawar (M-1 Motorway) has commenced and is expected to go live by Q1 2023.

Based on learnings from disruptions due to infrastructure damages in recent floods, the project has implemented extra measures to withstand natural calamities. All critical components including optical networking equipment, distribution networks, and power systems are deployed in such a manner that they continue to function in a range of disaster scenarios. Furthermore, the network is being enhanced through multiple rings, and swap arrangements with other network providers to provide an unprecedented level of reliability.

Asif Siddique, CEO of One Network, said: “This national long-haul project is the backbone to enable One Network to deploy state-of-the-art platforms for electronic toll collection (ETC) and intelligent transportation systems (ITS) for our National Motorways – the economic backbone of our country. Built along the national motorways, the fiber transmission network will provide a robust information highway linking many Pakistani cities, towns, and districts. The infrastructure has been built, and will be maintained, by keeping in mind the capacity and communication needs for our nation and its citizens for the next 25 years”. The infrastructure shall also be available for all cellular mobile operators to provide quality of service to their 3G/4G subscribers along the motorway routes. “We are building safe and reliable long-haul fiber infrastructure with an aim to contribute to improving quality of service and digitalization efforts of the government of Pakistan,” added Mr. Asif Siddique.

Danish A. Lakhani, CEO of Cybernet, said, “Our goal is to provide a high-capacity fiber network that continues to function in critical times. With careful planning of the fiber plant including ring-based protection and regular, proactive maintenance we aim to construct a robust national fiber backbone for use by everyone – but one which will be owned and managed by local Pakistanis. Such a backbone will not only serve the people, businesses, and institutions of Pakistan but also meet the needs of international customers who require high-capacity, cross-border connectivity.”

The new long-haul network will also provide tremendous benefit to Cybernet’s own broadband service (StormFiber) by enabling the company to provide multi-terabit transmission uplink to its broadband access network.

“This transmission network will enable us to further our mission of transforming the Pakistani economy by bringing gigabit fiber broadband service –at an affordable price— to households and businesses in every major city of Pakistan. We are on track to roll out our FTTH-based triple play service to the 25th city in Pakistan by the end of the year”, added Lakhani.
Riaz Haq said…
Starlink’s technical plan being studied by PTA, other stakeholders

ISLAMABAD: The Starlink Internet Services has yet to satisfy the Pakistan Tele-communication Authority (PTA) and other stakeholders over its technical plan—being evaluated for the launch of services in the country, official sources revealed to Business Recorder.

According to official documents of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication and the PTA, the technical plan submitted by Starlink is under evaluation by relevant stakeholders. The Government of Pakistan is in consultation with all stakeholders including SUPARCO, LEAs, PTA, and FAB to analyse the Starlink technical and business plan, as regional and various international countries are taking cautious approach to allow or deny Starlink due to respective satellite regimes as well as security aspects.

The documents further revealed that security clearance of Starlink and related technical vulnerabilities assessment especially its data hosting outside the country and utilization of laser technology from satellite to satellite without using Earth Gateways is being analyzed by Law Enforcement Agency. Further action of granting licence or otherwise will be taken by the PTA after clearance from all stakeholders.

In accordance with existing regulatory provisions, Long Distance and International (LD1) and Local Loop (LL) licencees of PTA are allowed to provide satellite-based telecommunication services in respective licenced region(s). Starlink Internet Services Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd (Starlink) which is owned by Starlink Holdings Netherlands BV, applied for LDI licence for Pakistan on 24th February 2022 along with 14 x LL licence for all Telecom Regions of Pakistan on 29th April 2022.

All stakeholders were intimated and Starlink case is being analysed from technical perspective on non-exclusive, non-interference, and non-protection basis.

Starlink Internet Services Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd (Starlink) approached Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to permit Starlink (SpaceX) to operate in Pakistan. Traditional satellites are operating in Pakistan in Geo Stationary Orbit (GSO) (at an altitude of 36000 kms). However, Starlink differs from GSO technically, as it operates in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) at an altitude between 250 to 500 kms, thus, provides low latency connectivity.

Starlink/SpaceX satellites can also communicate with many Ground Stations at a time and conversely, one ground station can connect to many starlink satellites. Satellite-to-satellite connectivity also exists through laser technology to effectively expand footprint in all areas.

Internet bandwidth is normally accessed from ground station within the country, where services are extended through starlink thus, optical fiber cable bandwidth is up/down linked through space stations and internet services are provided to the end user in the country.

The PTA officials on Monday also briefed the Senate Standing Committee on Information Technology and Telecommunication on the Starlink issue which met under the chairmanship of Senator Kauda Babar.

Officials said that this technology is still in its early stages and further progress could not be made due to some security concerns. Senator Afnanullah Khan said it was an excellent technology for providing internet services in remote areas and it was not appropriate to forego it just because of security concerns.

Chairman Committee, Senator Kauda Babar, formed a sub-committee to settle the matter and bring it to a logical end. The Sub-committee will sit with all the stakeholders and resolve the issues.

The officials revealed that SpaceX’s Starlink currently uses beta version which is not fully secured. The committee was informed that the technology was reportedly used in a drone attack in Ukraine while it was also reported in Afghanistan as well. The committee constituted a sub-committee to look into the matter and report back to it.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan inching towards establishing vibrant network of IT parks

ISLAMABAD-With digital growth going through a rapid evolution, Pakistan is inching towards establishing a vibrant network of state-of-the-art Information Technology (IT) parks aimed at providing young professionals a launching pad to execute their innovative ideas and contribute to the national economy efficiently.

The software technology parks would not only generate employment opportunities for IT professionals but also attract millions of dollars in precious foreign exchange, boost the IT industry, and increase exports, once they are completed and become fully operational.

Currently, work on establishing the IT parks in Karachi at the cost of Rs. 41 billion and Islamabad at the cost of Rs 13.72 billion is underway. Experts believe that after their completion, they would provide job opportunities to around 35,000 IT professionals collectively.

Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Amin-ul-Haq said the Karachi IT Park would be a gateway for an innovative future and strengthen the economy. “Karachi IT Park is the largest IT project of its kind in Pakistan, which will benefit not only the citizens of Karachi but also the IT professionals and companies of Sindh and the rest of Pakistan,” he added.
Riaz Haq said…
Jazz and Huawei Successfully Accomplished Nationwide Rollout for FDD Massive MIMO in Pakistan

Jazz and Huawei have commercially deployed FDD (Frequency Division Duplexing) Massive MIMO (Multiple Input and Multiple Output) solution based on 5G technology in a large scale. The solution has been developed and tailored to the needs of boosting network capacity and user experience.
This customized solution has been the first launch of Jazz and Huawei, supporting Jazz leap into the 4.9G domain. This innovative solution has tremendously enhanced the network capacities along with superior 4G experience for the valued subscribers. The average network traffic increased by around 30% and the average single user speed increased by around 170%.

Jazz’s Chief Technology Officer, Khalid Shehzad said, “We see that our customers are increasingly using high-bandwidth applications which resultantly puts pressure on existing network capabilities. Massive MIMO essentially allows us the freedom to provide more data at greater speeds, enabling our customers to use the enhanced services on their existing 4G devices. Network speeds will be faster than ever, which will significantly improve the end-user experience. Jazz is committed to developing an ecosystem that supports the government’s Digital Pakistan vision and the evolving technology needs of individuals and businesses.”

Huawei provides the industry's unique intelligent beam scheduling and intelligent beamforming technology which are native for 5G. Massive MIMO improves the capability of the handsets to transmit more efficiently. Currently Huawei FDD Massive MIMO has been deployed in more than 70 networks and over 20,000 units have been shipped. The level of collaboration between Jazz and Huawei goes beyond to more domains. For example, the first 400G transmission, the first core network cloudification, the first large-scale commercial use of VoLTE, and the first 3G sunset city. In Pakistan, Jazz maintains a leading position in network performance and innovations, and it leads the development of the entire ICT industry.
Riaz Haq said…
China's Sunwalk Group intends to invest $2 bn in Pakistan telecom sector | Business Standard News

China's Sunwalk Group intends to invest USD 2 billion in Cash-Strapped Pakistan's telecom sector for the deployment of an optical fiber network, Business Recorder reported.

The deployment of an optical fiber network will cover an area of 100,000 km over a period of time in Pakistan.

A high-level delegation of the Sunwalk Group led by chairman HOU called on Pakistan's Minister for IT and Telecom Syed Aminul Haque on Tuesday.

The meeting discussed about investment in telecom infrastructure, optical fiber cable (OFC), and right of way (RoW).

Sunwalk (Pvt) Ltd, is a telecom and technology-based multinational private Chinese enterprise that has developed multiple telecoms, and communication infrastructure projects in China and has acquired the TIP License in Pakistan, reported Business Recorder.

The company started deployment and invested about USD 5 million and has the plan to deploy 5,000 km OFC as the next step, according to Business Recorder.
Riaz Haq said…
OneWeb secures Pakistan distribution | Advanced Television

The newly formed OneWeb/NEOM Tech & Digital JV will bring high-speed satellite connectivity to NEOM, Saudi Arabia, the wider Middle East and neighbouring countries including Pakistan.

The OneWeb/NEOM Tech & Digital JV has exclusive rights to distribute OneWeb services in these regions for seven years, and is expected to commence operations in 2023.

The OneWeb/NEOM Tech & Digital JV is looking to transform businesses and communities, stimulating enterprise across the region, with gateways and Points of Presence (POPs) in the Middle East providing security, speed and low latency data to sectors such as finance and retail, as well as schools and hospitals.

The JV says it will offer a seamless solution to infrastructural hurdles in Pakistan, where mobile operators and local loop operators will be able to leverage the service to expand their coverage areas, offering dependable low-cost internet access.

Matthew Johnson, Interim CEO of the OneWeb/NEOM Tech & Digital JV, said: “LEO satellites not only mean we can reach absolutely everyone everywhere, but with reliable and rapid speeds – connectivity at 100 megabits per second and more without the need for techniques such as trenching or placement of 5G equipment and fiber optics. This partnership with REDtone highlights how this technology presents an incredible growth opportunity for the wider region.”
Riaz Haq said…
USF Approves Rs. 21 Billion for New Optical Fiber and Broadband Projects

The Universal Service Fund (USF) Board has approved the award of 10 contracts worth approximately Rs. 21 billion for the unserved and under-served communities of Baluchistan, Punjab, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

The high-speed mobile broadband projects, highways and motorways projects, and optical fiber cable projects will provide 4G LTE connectivity and backhaul connectivity to around 3.5 million people by connecting 187 Union Councils (UCs) with 1,554 kilometers (kms) of optical fiber cable and provide seamless connectivity to 622 km of unserved road segments on M-8 motorway and N-35 highway.

Additional Secretary (Incharge) IT & Telecommunication and Chairman USF Board Mohsin Mushtaq Chandna chaired the 83rd Board of Directors meeting of USF on Thursday.

While addressing the meeting, Chandna said that USF has delivered a record productive performance in the past 4 years by contracting 79 projects worth approximately Rs. 62.7 billion in subsidy. This is a testament to our absolute commitment to improving the lives and livelihoods of the unserved and underserved communities of Pakistan.

He also highlighted the importance of infrastructure, affordability, and accessibility of the internet and pledged to work with all stakeholders to achieve the vision of Digital Pakistan.

USF Chief Executive Officer Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary apprised the Board members of the progress of the current projects and the restoration of the flood-affected USF network. He said that these projects will empower around 3.3 million people living in far-flung and backward areas across Pakistan, enabling them to access e-services across various spheres, ranging from financial services like banking and loans to accessibility towards various government services and benefits.

According to the details, the Board approved the award of 5 high-speed mobile broadband contracts worth approximately Rs. 7.1 billion for providing 4G LTE services in the rural and remote districts of Punjab, Sindh, and Balochistan. These projects will benefit people living in 262 unserved muazas of Dera Ghazi Khan, Layyah, Muzaffargarh, Multan, and Rajanpur districts in Punjab, Jamshoro in Sindh, and Barkhan, Musakhel, Sherani, and Sibi in Balochistan covering an approximate unserved area of 12,784.91 sq. km.

Furthermore, the Board also approved the award of two high-speed mobile broadband projects for National Highways and Motorways worth Rs. 6 billion for providing 4G LTE services to commuters on unserved road segments of 622.68 km on M-8 motorway and N-35 highway respectively.

Similarly, the USF Board also approved the award of three optical fiber cable projects worth approximately Rs. 7.7 billion for providing backhaul connectivity to 187 Union Councils (UCs) of Punjab and KP. Under these projects, USF will deploy a total of 1,554 km of optical fiber cable that will benefit over 3.3 million people in the districts of Attock, Sheikhupura, and Nankana Sahib in Punjab and Bannu and Lakki Marwat in KP. These projects are designed to connect 684 educational institutions, 223 government offices, and 268 health institutions along with mandatory connectivity of 408 BTS towers.

Riaz Haq said…
Super Fast Gigabit Fiber Internet is Coming to 11 Cities in Pakistan Soon

Pakistan is about to get ultra-fast gigabit fiber internet in eleven cities soon, as per government documents available with ProPakistani.

This document highlights the Public Sector Development Project (PDSP) budget during the period of 2022-2024. It includes a summary of current ongoing projects, future projects, and more under the Ministry of Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives.

Under the Information Technology and Telecom Division, it highlights a new scheme for a project that will expand Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) Fiber to the Home (FTTH) services to eleven cities.

In simpler words, super fast gigabit internet is coming to more cities soon, as mentioned earlier. The project’s approval status is still “under process”, so it will probably be a while before it sees the light of day.

The government has approved a cost of Rs. 800 million and there is no foreign aid on this particular project. An additional Rs. 50 million will be allocated to this project during the course of 2023-2024.

Other Development Projects
The IT section of the document also highlights dozens of other projects the govt is working on at the moment, such as 4 more knowledge parks, a technology park development project, an online recruitment system for FPSC, smart offices for Federal Ministries and Departments, expansion of broadband services in Kashmir and Gilgit, and much more.

Riaz Haq said…
Chinese firm starts to lay 16,000-km-long fibre-optic cable in Pakistan

This was stated by Tony Lee, Chief Executive Officer of Sunwalk Pvt Limited, during a ceremony held in Islamabad. This Chinese company had already invested $5 million in Pakistan, and now planning to invest $100 million for laying optical fiber in other parts after getting Right of Way (ROW) from different public sector departments.

Tony Lee said Sunwalk is focusing on fast deployment and concentrating on quality according to the ITU-T Standards. “We are always committed to the best services in Pakistan”, he said.

Two months ago, Sunwalk Group Chairman Hou Xing Wang told Federal Minister for IT and Telecom Aminul Haque in a meeting Sunwalk Group will soon start laying fiber cable across the country with substantial investment.

According to an official statement about the project, Ms Afshaan Malik, Chief Business Officer of Sunwalk Group Pakistan, said keeping in view Pak-China long-term strategic relationships, Sunwalk has fulfilled its promise by initiating the national fiber backbone project. Sunwalk is committed to providing optic cable to the people of Pakistan, she said.

In this connection, groundbreaking of Phase-1 (Islamabad to Multan) to provide nationwide fiber backbone was done on Thursday. Afshaan further said Sunwalk is in the process of getting ROW from government departments. After getting that $100 million will be invested, she said.
Riaz Haq said…
China plans $500 million subsea internet cable to rival US-backed project | Reuters

Known as EMA (Europe-Middle East-Asia), the proposed cable would link Hong Kong to China’s island province of Hainan, before snaking its way to Singapore, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and France, the four people said. They asked not to be named because they were not allowed to discuss potential trade secrets.

The cable, which would cost approximately $500 million to complete, would be manufactured and laid by China’s HMN Technologies Co Ltd, a fast-growing cable firm whose predecessor company was majority-owned by Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, the people said.


SINGAPORE, April 6 (Reuters) - Chinese state-owned telecom firms are developing a $500 million undersea fiber-optic internet cable network that would link Asia, the Middle East and Europe to rival a similar U.S.-backed project, four people involved in the deal told Reuters. The plan is a sign that an intensifying tech war between Beijing and Washington risks tearing the fabric of the internet.

China's three main carriers – China Telecommunications Corporation (China Telecom), China Mobile Limited and China United Network Communications Group Co Ltd(China Unicom) – are mapping out one of the world’s most advanced and far-reaching subsea cable networks, according to the four people, who have direct knowledge of the plan.


They said HMN Tech, which is majority-owned by Shanghai-listed Hengtong Optic-Electric Co Ltd, would receive subsidies from the Chinese state to build the cable.

China Mobile, China Telecom, China Unicom, HMN Tech, and Hengtong did not respond to requests for comment.

The Chinese foreign ministry said in a statement to Reuters that it "has always encouraged Chinese enterprises to carry out foreign investment and cooperation" without commenting directly on the EMA cable project.

Riaz Haq said…
U.S. and China wage war beneath the waves - over internet cables

Subsea cables, which carry the world's data, are now central to the U.S.-China tech war. Washington, fearful of Beijing's spies, has thwarted Chinese projects abroad and choked Big Tech's cable routes to Hong Kong, Reuters has learned.

It started out as strictly business: a huge private contract for one of the world’s most advanced undersea fiber-optic cables. It became a trophy in a growing proxy war between the United States and China over technologies that could determine who achieves economic and military dominance for decades to come.

In February, American subsea cable company SubCom LLC began laying a $600-million cable to transport data from Asia to Europe, via Africa and the Middle East, at super-fast speeds over 12,000 miles of fiber running along the seafloor.

That cable is known as South East Asia–Middle East–Western Europe 6, or SeaMeWe-6 for short. It will connect a dozen countries as it snakes its way from Singapore to France, crossing three seas and the Indian Ocean on the way. It is slated to be finished in 2025.

It was a project that slipped through China’s fingers.

A Chinese company that has quickly emerged as a force in the subsea cable-building industry – HMN Technologies Co Ltd – was on the brink of snagging that contract three years ago. The client for the cable was a consortium of more than a dozen global firms. Three of China’s state-owned carriers – China Telecommunications Corporation (China Telecom), China Mobile Limited and China United Network Communications Group Co Ltd (China Unicom) – had committed funding as members of the consortium, which also included U.S.-based Microsoft Corp and French telecom firm Orange SA, according to six people involved in the deal.

HMN Tech, whose predecessor company was majority-owned by Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, was selected in early 2020 to manufacture and lay the cable, the people said, due in part to hefty subsidies from Beijing that lowered the cost. HMN Tech’s bid of $500 million was roughly a third cheaper than the initial proposal submitted to the cable consortium by New Jersey-based SubCom, the people said.

The Singapore-to-France cable would have been HMN Tech’s biggest such project to date, cementing it as the world’s fastest-rising subsea cable builder, and extending the global reach of the three Chinese telecom firms that had intended to invest in it.

But the U.S. government, concerned about the potential for Chinese spying on these sensitive communications cables, ran a successful campaign to flip the contract to SubCom through incentives and pressure on consortium members.

Reuters has detailed that effort here for the first time. It’s one of at least six private undersea cable deals in the Asia-Pacific region over the past four years where the U.S. government either intervened to keep HMN Tech from winning that business, or forced the rerouting or abandonment of cables that would have directly linked U.S. and Chinese territories. The story of those interventions by Washington hasn’t been previously reported.

SubCom had no comment on the SeaMeWe-6 battle, and HMN Tech did not respond to requests for comment. In a statement last year about infrastructure projects, the White House briefly noted that the U.S. government helped SubCom to win the Singapore-to-France cable contract, without giving details. China’s foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment. China Telecom, China Mobile, China Unicom and Orange did not respond to requests for comment. Microsoft declined to comment.

Undersea cables are central to U.S.-China technology competition.

Riaz Haq said…
U.S. and China wage war beneath the waves - over internet cables

Across the globe, there are more than 400 cables running along the seafloor, carrying over 95% of all international internet traffic, according to TeleGeography, a Washington-based telecommunications research firm. These data conduits, which transmit everything from emails and banking transactions to military secrets, are vulnerable to sabotage attacks and espionage, a U.S. government official and two security analysts told Reuters.

The potential for undersea cables to be drawn into a conflict between China and self-ruled Taiwan was thrown into sharp relief last month. Two communications cables were cut that connected Taiwan with its Matsu islands, which sit close to the Chinese coast. The islands’ 14,000 residents were disconnected from the internet.

Taiwanese authorities said they suspected a Chinese fishing vessel and a Chinese freighter caused the disruption. However, they stopped short of calling it a deliberate act and said there was no direct evidence showing the Chinese ships were to blame. China, which considers Taiwan a breakaway province, has ratcheted up military and political efforts to force the island to accept its dominion.

Eavesdropping is a worry too. Spy agencies can readily tap into cables landing on their territory. Justin Sherman, a fellow at the Cyber Statecraft Initiative of the Atlantic Council, a Washington-based think tank, told Reuters that undersea cables were “a surveillance gold mine” for the world’s intelligence agencies.

“When we talk about U.S.-China tech competition, when we talk about espionage and the capture of data, submarine cables are involved in every aspect of those rising geopolitical tensions,” Sherman said.

Two of the projects upended by the U.S. government involved cables that had already been manufactured and laid thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean. U.S. tech behemoths Google LLC, Meta Platforms Inc and Inc were major investors in at least one, or in Meta’s case both, of those cables, according to public announcements made about the projects. The delays and rerouting of the cables cost each of those companies tens of millions of dollars in lost revenue and additional costs, four sources who worked on the projects said.

Amazon, Meta and Google declined to comment about these projects or the cable wars.

SubCom’s cable coup is part of a wider effort in Washington aimed at reining in China as Beijing strives to become the world's dominant producer of advanced technologies, be it submarines, semiconductor chips, artificial intelligence or drones. China is bulking up its military arsenal with sophisticated armaments. And Beijing has become increasingly assertive about countering U.S. influence worldwide through trade, weapons and infrastructure deals that are drawing wide swaths of the globe into its orbit.

The U.S. cable effort has been anchored by a three-year-old interagency task force informally known as Team Telecom.

To oust the Chinese builder from the Singapore-to-France cable, the United States proffered sweeteners – and warnings – to the project’s investors.

On the sweetener side, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) told Reuters it offered training grants valued at a total of $3.8 million to five telecom companies in countries on the cable’s route in return for them choosing SubCom as the supplier. Telecom Egypt and Network i2i Limited, a company owned by India’s Bharti Airtel Limited, got $1 million apiece, USTDA said. Djibouti Telecom, Sri Lanka Telecom and Dhivehi Raajjeyge Gulhun of the Maldives each received $600,000. None of the five responded to questions from Reuters.

Riaz Haq said…
U.S. and China wage war beneath the waves - over internet cables

Meanwhile, American diplomats cautioned participating foreign telecom carriers that Washington planned to impose crippling sanctions on HMN Tech, a development that could put their investment in the cable project at risk. The U.S. Commerce Department made good on that threat in December 2021, citing HMN Tech’s intention to acquire American technology to help modernize China’s People’s Liberation Army.

A senior U.S. State Department official confirmed that the department had advocated through its embassies to help SubCom win the contract, including warning other countries about the security risks posed by HMN Tech. Though the cable won’t come ashore in Chinese territory, the U.S. government believed HMN Tech could insert remote surveillance equipment inside the cable, the official said without providing evidence. The Commerce Department declined to comment.

Two months later, in February 2022, SubCom announced that the cable consortium had awarded it the contract to build the SeaMeWe-6 cable. China Telecom and China Mobile, which were due to own a combined 20% of the cable, pulled out because the Chinese government wouldn’t approve their involvement in the project with SubCom as the cable contractor, three people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. China Unicom remained.

China’s foreign ministry and its defense ministry, which handles questions for the People’s Liberation Army, did not respond to Reuters’ questions.

On June 26, 2022, the White House published a fact sheet citing various upcoming infrastructure projects, including the SubCom undersea cable deal. The document said the U.S. government had “collectively helped secure” the award of that contract for SubCom.

The White House did not respond to a request for further comment.

U.S.-China relations are at the lowest they’ve been in decades. The two countries have clashed on a host of issues, including China’s tacit support for Russia’s invasion of democratic Ukraine, its crackdown on Hong Kong, and the future of Taiwan, which Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to bring under Beijing’s control. In February, the United States shot down a Chinese spy balloon that floated into American airspace. China has claimed it was a weather balloon that got blown off course and accused the Americans of overreacting.

President Joe Biden’s policies are increasingly isolating China’s high-tech sector with the aim of bringing some technology manufacturing back to America while keeping cutting-edge U.S. innovation out of Chinese hands.

Over the last year, the Biden administration has pushed through a landmark bill to provide $52.7 billion in subsidies for U.S. semiconductor production and research. The Commerce Department in December added dozens of Chinese firms producing technology such as drones and artificial intelligence chips to its so-called Entity List, which severely restricts their access to U.S. technology.
Riaz Haq said…
U.S. and China wage war beneath the waves - over internet cables

Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang, speaking in Beijing this month, said the two superpowers are destined for “conflict and confrontation” unless Washington abandons its policy of “containment and suppression” towards China.

Three companies have dominated the construction and laying of fiber-optic subsea cables for decades: America’s SubCom, Japan’s NEC Corporation and France’s Alcatel Submarine Networks, Inc.

But a seismic shift occurred in 2008 when Huawei Marine Networks Co Ltd entered the fray. Owned by Chinese telecom Huawei Technologies, the Tianjin-based company initially built small cable systems in underserved markets such as Papua New Guinea and the Caribbean.

Fast-forward 15 years and the firm, now known as HMN Tech, has become the world’s fastest-growing manufacturer and layer of subsea cables, according to TeleGeography data.

But the company’s short history has been shaped by deteriorating U.S.-China relations.

In 2019, Huawei Technologies came under fire from the administration of then-U.S. President Donald Trump. The Commerce Department banned Huawei and 70 affiliates from buying parts and components from U.S. companies without government approval.

That move was part of a global campaign by Washington and its allies to stop Huawei Technologies from building fifth-generation, or 5G, communications networks around the world due to concerns that host nations would be vulnerable to Chinese eavesdropping or cyberattacks, the details of which were revealed in a previous Reuters investigation.

Huawei Technologies said at the time that it was a private company that is not controlled by the Chinese government. Contacted for this story, Huawei Technologies said it fully divested its stake in Huawei Marine in 2020 and is no longer connected with the cable-laying company, which rebranded as HMN Tech under new Chinese ownership.

HMN Tech expanded its ambitions with the PEACE cable, which came online last year and connects Asia, Africa and Europe. The firm was poised to make another great leap with the Singapore-to-France project before SubCom snatched it away.

The following account of how that deal fell apart for the Chinese players is based on interviews with six people directly involved in the SeaMeWe-6 contract. They all asked not to be named as they were not authorized to discuss potential trade secrets or matters of national security.

Large undersea cables cost several hundreds of millions of dollars. They are usually paid for by a consortium of tech or telecom companies that can spread the cost and risks, as well as take responsibility for any cable landing that ends up in their countries.

In the case of SeaMeWe-6, there were more than a dozen companies funding the cable, and there was immediately a split in the group, which would need to reach a consensus to select a contractor for the project, the people said.

China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom were resolutely behind HMN Tech, which had come in with a bid of around $500 million. Microsoft, Orange and India’s Bharti Airtel expressed concerns about the risk of potential U.S. pushback on HMN Tech’s involvement. Still, it was hard to argue with the price. SubCom’s bid was closer to $750 million.

On a series of video calls in mid-2020, the consortium members verbally agreed that HMN Tech would build the cable. SubCom would be the reserve in case the Chinese firm pulled out or failed to deliver on the terms of its proposal.

But behind the scenes, SubCom and the U.S. government were sowing seeds of doubt about whether HMN Tech was the best company for the job.
Riaz Haq said…
U.S. and China wage war beneath the waves - over internet cables

SubCom had already successfully applied for loans from the federal Export-Import Bank of the United States to support its bid. It also secured advocacy assistance from the Department of Commerce, which quickly mobilized U.S. embassies around the world to lean on consortium members in their host nations.

U.S. ambassadors in at least six of those countries, including Singapore, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, wrote letters to local telecom carriers participating in the deal, according to people involved. One of these letters, seen by Reuters, said picking SubCom is “an important opportunity to enhance commercial and security cooperation with the United States.”

Separately, ambassadors and senior diplomats met with executives at foreign telecom companies in at least five countries. The message: HMN Tech could be subject to U.S. sanctions in the near future. That in turn would make it difficult for the telecoms to sell bandwidth because their biggest likely customers – U.S. tech firms – wouldn’t be allowed to use the cable.

One senior Asian telecom executive recalled a meeting in mid-2020 with a top U.S. diplomat and an American digital trade attaché. The U.S. officials explained how sanctions on HMN Tech would render the cable virtually worthless, providing him a printed spreadsheet with an economic analysis showing just that.

“They said we’d go bankrupt. It was a persuasive argument,” the executive told Reuters.

Two other Asian telecom executives in the consortium told Reuters they met with both Chinese and U.S. diplomats, who urged them to back HMN Tech and SubCom, respectively.

By the end of 2020, several consortium members, including Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited, India’s Bharti Airtel, Sri Lanka Telecom, France’s Orange and Telecom Egypt, told their partners they were having second thoughts about choosing HMN Tech as a supplier, mostly over the fear of sanctions.

None of these companies responded to requests for comment.

In February 2021, with the consortium partners at loggerheads, SubCom and HMN Tech were given a chance by the group to submit a “best and final offer.” SubCom lowered its bid to close to $600 million. But HMN Tech was now offering to build the cable for $475 million.

Several consortium members, including Microsoft, Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Singtel) and Orange, argued to the other participants that when the risk of sanctions was factored into the bids, SubCom was offering a better deal. The three state-owned Chinese companies strongly disagreed. The companies all declined comment.

On a tense final video call in late 2021, an executive from Singtel, the chair on the cable committee, urged the companies to vote on a final decision before the whole deal collapsed, two people who were on that call told Reuters.

China Telecom and China Mobile threatened to walk off the project, taking tens of millions of dollars of investment with them. But the majority of the consortium picked SubCom, and the two Chinese state-owned firms departed. Two new investors – Telekom Malaysia Berhad and PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International (Telin) – joined the deal, and some of the original members raised their stakes to make up the shortfall, the people said.

Telekom Malaysia and Telin did not respond to requests for comment.
Riaz Haq said…
U.S. and China wage war beneath the waves - over internet cables

In addition to the successful campaign to freeze out HMT Tech from the Singapore-to-France cable, teams across the U.S. state and commerce departments and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative once again coordinated with the White House to use diplomatic pressure to boot the Chinese firm from a project. This time it was a cable connecting the three Pacific island nations of Nauru, the Federated States of Micronesia and Kiribati, according to two sources involved in that deal.

The United States, Australia and Japan announced in December 2021 that they would jointly fund a cable on the same route, known as the East Micronesia Cable. In a joint statement this month, the three said they had met on March 8 to help “push forward” on this cable, without giving a time frame.

The U.S.-China backroom brawling over undersea cables is threatening to overwhelm the subsea cable industry, which has always relied on careful diplomatic collaboration to survive, said Paul McCann, a Sydney-based subsea cable consultant.

“I've never seen such geopolitical influence over subsea cables in the 40-odd years I’ve been involved in the business,” McCann told Reuters. “It's unprecedented.”

At the heart of Washington’s newly aggressive strategy is Team Telecom. That’s the informal name for an interagency committee set up through an Executive Order signed by Trump in April 2020. The mission: safeguarding U.S. telecommunication networks from spies and cyberattacks.

Team Telecom is run by the National Security Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ). That division is headed by Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen. Nominated to that position by Biden in May 2021, Olsen has worked in a string of intel posts. He served as director of the National Counterterrorism Center under former President Barack Obama from 2011 to 2014, and before that as general counsel for the National Security Agency, the U.S. spy nerve center.

The DOJ declined to make Olsen available for an interview.

While the State Department and its partners have helped to prevent China from obtaining new subsea contracts in foreign places of U.S. strategic interest, Team Telecom has focused on a purely domestic concern: stopping any cable from directly connecting U.S. territory with mainland China or Hong Kong due to worries about Chinese espionage.

To that end, the team makes cable licensing recommendations to the U.S. telecom regulator, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Since 2020, the team has been instrumental in the cancellation of four cables whose backers had wanted to link the United States with Hong Kong, Devin DeBacker, a DOJ official and senior member of Team Telecom, told Reuters in an interview.

Hong Kong, a former British colony that transitioned to self-rule and is dubbed a “special administrative region” by China, has long been the investment gateway to the communist mainland because of its well-developed financial sector, open economy and highly-educated workforce.

However, in 2019, Beijing launched a security crackdown and increased surveillance in Hong Kong, prompting mass demonstrations. As China tightened its grip, Washington became concerned that Chinese spy agencies would intercept data on the planned undersea cables if that equipment ultimately came ashore in Hong Kong, said DeBacker, the chief of the Foreign Investment Review Section of the DOJ’s National Security Division.

“That provides a physical access point in what is effectively Chinese territory,” DeBacker said. “Because of the way that China has eroded Hong Kong's autonomy, that enabled the Chinese government to have a direct, all-access path, effectively a collection platform on U.S. persons’ data and communications.”

“The risk is real. It has materialized in the past, and what we're trying to do is prevent it from materializing in the future”

Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan Regional Hub For Internet Connectivity: Post by Umar Saif on X

Umar Saif
Today is a momunental day for the Pakistan telecom and IT industry. Three important milestones achieved today in collaboration with PTCL, SCO, PTA, De CIX, PEACE Cable and China Mobile:

1. We have reached an agreement for China to start routing their Internet traffic through Pakistan — making Pakistan a regional hub for connectivity. This will earn Pakistan huge revenue for Internet transit traffic.

2. Etisalat has setup Pakistan’s first carrier-neutral IXP and Data center in Pakistan to strengthen the reliability of internet connectivity.

3. PTCL will work with DE CIX German data center and IXP operator to run the operations of this new data center. Bringing a world-class data center operator to Pakistan will now enable us to both bring super-scaling cloud services such as AWS, Google Cloud and Azure to Pakistan and provide a local content hub for content services such as YouTube, TikTok and Netflix.

4. Pakistan’s internet users can now access services locally and Pakistan can become a hub of regional connectivity.
Riaz Haq said…
Pakistan’s Cybernet taps Nokia to build country’s first 600G commercial network | Lightwave

Cybernet, Pakistan’s largest wireline operator, deployed the country’s first DWDM network at 600Gbps per wavelength. Leveraging Nokia's optical equipment, the new optical network connects Cybernet’s main metro sites and provides the enhanced network capacity needed to support growing consumer and enterprise demand for fast, high-quality broadband services.

By further strengthening its global footprint through the establishment of its international points of presence (POPs) in MC-1 in Barka (Oman), MRS-2 in Marseille (France), SmartHub in Fujairah (UAE) and SG1 in Singapore, Cybernet is providing its global peering community members with its advanced IXP platform powered by the Nokia 7750 SR and 7250 IXR routers. Cybernet offers Internet, EVPN and MPLS-based services with rich Quality of Service (QoS) at its international POPs.

Operators are looking to upgrade their optical networks to meet the rising demand for high-speed broadband access and network speeds. Cybernet partnered with Nokia to deploy a future-proof optical network capable of delivering over 600Gbps per lambda. This enhances the capacity and speed of its network to connect main metro sites within the country. Leveraging Nokia’s PSS 1830 optical transport platform, Cybernet can effectively scale its total network capacity to 28 Tbps, serving broadband and enterprise customers across Pakistan.

Cybernet implemented Nokia’s advanced integrated ROADM architecture based on flexgrid technology. Through this deployment, Cybernet can better optimize and extend the reach of its optical network. Additional software management and control functions from Nokia’s WaveSuite service enablement automation software help Cybernet to further increase operational efficiencies. Broadband and enterprise customers can also benefit from low latency, superior quality of services and enhanced customer experience.

“Using Nokia’s innovative in-house PSE-Vs chipset with super-coherent optical engines allows us to connect our main sites while also giving us headroom to grow our capacity efficiently and cost-effectively,” said Maroof Ali Shahani, COO of Cybernet. “Through our partnership with Nokia, we can meet our customers’ increasing demand for the best connectivity services while also enabling them to benefit from the latest innovations within optical technology.”
Riaz Haq said…
China, Pakistan sign agreement to route Internet traffic through Pakistan, generate $400 million revenue

Dr. Umar Saif made the announcement as he inaugurated the Pakistan Internet Exchange (PIE) in Islamabad on Monday, powered by DE-CIX, an operator of carrier- and data-center-neutral Internet Exchanges, with operations in Europe, North America, Africa, the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia.

Saif said Pakistan had achieved four important milestones in collaboration with Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd. (PTCL), Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), DE-CIX, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), China Mobile and PEACE Cable, which stands for Pakistan and East Africa Connecting Europe, a submarine cable project designed to facilitate data transmission between Asia, Europe, and Africa.

“We have reached an agreement for China to start routing their Internet traffic through Pakistan, making Pakistan a regional hub for connectivity,” Saif said.

In a second development, the minister said UAE state-owned telecommunications company Etisalat had set up Pakistan’s first carrier neutral IXP (Internet Exchange Point) and data center to strengthen the reliability of Internet connectivity.

Thirdly, PTCL would work with DE-CIX to run the operations of the new data center, which would enable Pakistan to both bring super-scaling cloud services such as AWS, Google Cloud, and Azure to Pakistan and provide a local content hub for content services such as YouTube, TikTok and Netflix, according to Saif.

“And last but not the least, Pakistan’s Internet users can now access services locally and Pakistan can become a hub of regional connectivity.”

Explaining the measures, the IT minister said Pakistan was a massive digital market with an Internet user-base larger than the population of Italy. In recent years, the country had made significant strides in advancing fiber connectivity and multiple submarine cables making a landfall in Karachi.

Now, the PTCL data center, managed by a tier-1 data center operator like DE-CIX, would generate “exciting” prospects for localized content hosting from leading platforms like YouTube, Netflix and TikTok.

Content cached and routed from Pakistan could seamlessly reach other markets, positioning Pakistan as the regional digital connectivity hub, Saif said, and generate annual revenues ranging from $200-400 million through transit traffic to substantially add to the economy.

Owned and managed by Etisalat, PTCL is the largest integrated Information Communication Technology (ICT) company of Pakistan and DE-CIX is the world’s leading Internet Exchange (IX) operator.

Housed in the PTCL data center in Karachi, the IX is operated by DE-CIX under the DE-CIX as a Service (DaaS) model and built on DE-CIX’s award-winning interconnection infrastructure.

The interconnection platform offers local peering as well as remote access to DE-CIX Frankfurt (Germany).

Zarrar Hasham Khan, Group Chief Business Solutions Officer at PTCL & Ufone 4G, said the company’s nationwide network and DE-CIX’s interconnection infrastructure would serve as a foundation to enhance the Internet experience of customers while facilitating the local hosting of content by international platforms.

Ivo Ivanov, CEO of DE-CIX, said as one of the most populous countries in Asia and with Internet usage growing extremely fast, Pakistan needed local interconnection.

“The Pakistan Internet Exchange powered by DE-CIX will prove itself to be key to unlocking the economic potential of excellent Internet connectivity for the country,” he added.

The Pakistan Internet Exchange will be joining such success stories as the UAE-IX, powered by DE-CIX in Dubai, whose growth and success over the last twelve years have led to it being recognized as an important international Internet hub.

Popular posts from this blog

Pakistani Women's Growing Particpation in Workforce

Project Azm: Pakistan to Develop 5th Generation Fighter Plane

Pakistan's Saadia Zahidi Leads World Economic Forum's Gender Parity Effort