KARACHI: Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) is set to invest in another international submarine cable consortium system expected to be operational in the last quarter of 2015, said a press release on Friday.
This will be the fourth submarine cable system by PTCL – a subsidiary of United Arab Emirate’s Etisalat – representing a multimillion dollar investment, the broadband giant said in an official statement, however the total investment was not disclosed.
The new cable, to be laid in collaboration with leading operators in the region, will be span from the Far East to Europe, with multiple landing points in the Middle East.
“With this cable, PTCL will be adding terabits of bandwidth to its international capacity, along with increasing its existing international infrastructure on the eastern and western side of the Arabian Sea,” the statement said.
This investment will help the company cater to growing demand from both retail consumers and businesses in the country for broadband and data services. The new cable link synergizes with PTCL’s three existing cable consortium systems: South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe 3 (SMW3), South East Asia-Middle-East Western Europe 4 (MW4) and India-Middle East-Western Europe (I-ME-WE) which connect Pakistan with rest of the world.
“It is anticipated that the agreement will be signed before the end of this year and the cable will be operational as early as in the last quarter of 2015,” the statement said referring to a recent consortium meeting attended by a high level PTCL delegation to finalise the details of the project.
This new cable system is expected to further boost the proliferation of broadband connectivity in Pakistan and meet capacity needs of future applications spurring the development of information and communications technology in Pakistan, it said.
It may be recalled here that SMW4 and I-ME-WE, two of the four undersea cables that connect Pakistan globally, were damaged earlier this year, slowing down the country’s internet connectivity by half. The new undersea cable consortium system will be an additional lifeline for the country’s internet connectivity in case of a similar damage in the future.
Presently, Transworld Associates (TWA) and PTCL act as the internet gateway to Pakistan and provide bandwidth to local internet service providers. Pakistan is connected with the cyber world through four undersea fiber optic cables: I-ME-WE, SMW3, SMW4 owned by PTCL and TWA-1, owned by Transworld.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 7th, 2013.