Fiber Optic Cables in Pakistan

During the past four years, the number of Internet users in Pakistan has been increased from 1.5 million to 36 million, due to which, the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are busy in taking steps to enhance the quality of the Internet in the country. The number of submarine fiber optic cables will be increased while the Internet speed will also be improved.

In Pakistan, the Internet users face many difficulties in the connectivity because of the damage to the fiber optic cables. Many times, the mobile phone service also gets affected due to the same reason. Just recently, some cuts in the fiber optic cable caused the disruption of Internet service in various parts of the country.

While talking to Dawn News, an expert of Information Technology (IT) and telecom Salman Asari said that Pakistan is presently getting the Internet connectivity from more than three fiber optic submarine cables. But, the users will enjoy faster Internet speed at cheaper prices after the introduction of more ISPs in the market.

Salman Ansari said that a lot of ISPs in Pakistan are providing the broadband services by using two or three cables but in the future, they will get more options, which will enable each ISP to get the broadband services from a number of companies. In this way, people will remain connected to the Internet even if a fault occurs in one of the fiber optic cables.

He further stated that Pakistan received 7 terabytes of Internet data in the past two weeks. Now, a fiber optic cable by Transworld has increased the Internet data to 20 terabytes. Another company Multinet is starting fiber optic cables from Oman. This cable will be called “Silk Route” and it will generate 40 terabytes of data.

Other than this, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) is also working for a 40 terabytes cable, which will help in generating 80 terabytes of Internet data. Under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) program, China will also arrange a fiber optic cable. This will allow more companies to enter Pakistani market. In the next few years, Pakistan will be getting 400 terabytes of Internet data.

The secret agencies cannot access the personal messages, which are sent or received via end-to-end encrypted messaging apps such as WhatsApp, but they can get the information of a voice call, which is made between two people. Because the secret agencies cannot access the encrypted messages, they choose to suspend the Internet services. According to Salman Ansari, the increase in the number of Internet users is due to the smartphones because almost all the smartphone users in Pakistan use Internet.

On the other hand, Nighat Dad – the founder of the Digital Rights Foundation said that her organization receives a large number of complaints whenever a fault occurs in the fiber optic cable. She says that she periodically receives the complaints regarding the fault on the Internet. Most of the complaints are received from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).


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