China is linking Pakistan with a new submarine cable system in order to provide one of the fastest internet services in the world. The latest initiative dovetails the $44m fiber optic cable being laid between Pakistan and China as part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor net connectivity infrastructure.
Named PEACE (Pakistan East Africa Cable Express), the cable will have two landing routes in Karachi and Gwadar and will stretch across Europe and Africa.
The project will be built by Huawei Marine and will be funded by Tropic Science Co., Ltd. It will be managed by the telecom giant PCCW Global, headquartered in Hong Kong.
“The cable’s deployment has already been started and is expected to be active by the end of 2019. The new high tech cable will have more than 60TB capacity. During its first phase, PEACE will contain a 6,200km network that will connect Pakistan at Gwadar and Karachi with Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya, eventually spanning 13,000km, reaching South Africa and Egypt,” Huawei said.
The ports at Karachi in the province of Sindh and at Gwadar in Balochistan– both on the Arabian Sea will provide maximum serviceability to CPEC related trade, shipping and air transportation activities.
Pakistan’s cellular provider Jazz and internet service provider (ISP) Cybernet will be the probable partners of the PEACE cable in Pakistan. The new cable system will give Pakistan more net reliability which will lead to significant boost in the internet connectivity, Tech Juice reported.
Currently, Pakistan is served by six submarine cables and has suffered frequent internet outages which have left services crippled across the country in recent past.
The $44 million 820km long fiber optic cable between Rawalpindi and Khunjrab will provide Pakistan high-speed international connection to Central Asia and Europe via China and cater to the rapidly expected Internet traffic needs of Pakistan and China once the $62bln CPEC is fully operational by 2023.
According to the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) China has already released $11.24 million for establishment of Cross-border optic fiber cable.
China is providing Pakistan a concessional loan at an interest rate of 2 percent per annum for the cross boarder optic fiber project.
China and Pakistan have also signed agreements for upgradation of 1,300-kilometre Karakorum Highway connecting to capital Islamabad.