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.

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