Broadband connectivity: New cable to provide faster access for consumers, businesses

Published: March 8, 2015
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Spread across 20,000 kilometers, the new cable system will connect Singapore to Europe (Italy and France) and traverse Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Oman, UAE, Yemen, Djibouti and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, according to TWA. DESIGN: OMER ASIM

Spread across 20,000 kilometers, the new cable system will connect Singapore to Europe (Italy and France) and traverse Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Oman, UAE, Yemen, Djibouti and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, according to TWA. DESIGN: OMER ASIM

KARACHI: In a move that will strengthen the country’s internet backbone connectivity, Transworld Associates (Private) Limited (TWA) has joined a consortium of leading telecom companies to build and operate the South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe (SEA-ME-WE)-5 submarine cable network.

TWA will own the Pakistan landing of SEA-ME-WE-5, which will be ready for service by mid-2016, the company said in a statement last week.

“It’s a good development and will improve our strategic positioning in the world of IT and telecommunications,” Wahajus Siraj of the Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan (Ispak) told The Express Tribune.

“The new submarine cable will provide more resilience to Pakistan’s internet backbone connectivity,” Siraj said.

Pakistan is connected with the cyber world through four undersea fibre optic cables. These include India-Middle East-Western Europe (I-ME-WE), SEA-ME-WE-3 and SEA-ME-WE-4, which are owned by Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) and TWA-1, which is owned by TWA. The new fibre optic will be the fifth undersea cable to connect Pakistan with the rest of the world.

TWA and PTCL act as the internet gateway to Pakistan and provide bandwidth to local internet service providers.

The new submarine cable will deliver ultra-broadband capacity and faster access to consumers and businesses. Its ultimate design capacity of 24 terabit per second will be used to serve the countries along its route, TWA said.

Once operational, the cable will provide the country with an additional capacity in case of breakdown in any of the existing cables, something that happened in 2013.

In March 2013, internet speed across Pakistan plummeted nearly 60% when SEA-ME-WE-4 was damaged in the Arabian Sea near Karachi and that, too, only two weeks after I-ME-WE fibre optic cable was broken down. These back-to-back breakdowns left the entire internet traffic on the remaining two cables – SEA-ME-WE-3 and TW1, causing congestion.

With two of the four undersea cables that connect Pakistan with the internet out of service, the country faced a massive reduction in internet speed. Shortly after the disruption, internet users faced a host of problems ranging from intermittent to slow connectivity. Many had complained about a significant decrease in their browsing speed.

Better-equipped

With the addition of SEA-ME-WE-5, the country will be better equipped to deal with similar breakdowns in the future, according to experts. The new cable will come with approximately six times Pakistan’s current capacity, says IT and telecom blog, Propakistani.pk.

Moreover, the undersea cable will also benefit retailers, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), by offering an alternative to the market leader PTCL. “It [SEA-ME-WE-5] also provides an alternative route to the operators by balancing out PTCL’s dominance in the market,” Siraj said.

Spread across 20,000 kilometres, the new cable system will connect Singapore to Europe (Italy and France) and traverse Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Oman, UAE, Yemen, Djibouti and Saudi Arabia, according to TWA.

“We will be able to deliver resilient and redundant network solutions with several advantages, such as flexibility and reliability for our customers as the system will offer an increased service experience,” TWA President Kamran Malik said.

Appreciating Islamabad’s pro-investment programmes and policies for the ICT sector, Malik said, “This investment by TWA is a result of positive and goal-oriented policies, which will enhance socio-economic development and spur economic growth via a more connected Pakistan.”

The writer is a staff correspondent

Published in The Express Tribune, March  9th,  2015.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Tardy Telecom
    Mar 9, 2015 - 11:26AM

    CEO Transworld has waken up finally. They have only one cable from Karachi to Oman which was very vulnerable. This article also suggests that Trasworld is an international cable. It is wrong. They are purchasing bandwidth on SMW3,4 and IMWE in Oman and UAE. These same cables are coming directly at landing in Karachi through PTCL only. So Transworld is a regional cable only. PTCL is the only international submarine cable consortium member.

    Well anyway it is good that Transworld is going to now become a proper international submarine cable provider. Thanks God they have waken up from the sleep. Recommend

  • Baloch
    Mar 9, 2015 - 12:13PM

    Why is Gilgit Baltistan not included in Pakstan’s map??!!Recommend

  • Arslan
    Mar 9, 2015 - 1:32PM

    @Baloch: I hope ET rectifies the mistake.Recommend

  • Haroon Rashid
    Mar 9, 2015 - 8:40PM

    This is the regulatory issue for lack of infrastructure for the basics of the Interent connectivity. The Broadband Commission, is on the mission of enhancing connectivity world wide. Pakistan is on the map of internet for decades. Prior to the regulatory authority we had internet. The regulatory is keen for optimising revenue by issuing licenses not the performance/enhancement of the services. On the visit of the Secretary General Dr. Hamoudon Toure to MOITT, Islamabad his mission to see the internet and he visited PTCL Tech. Center.
    Why MOITT didn’t request the Secretary General for the availability of Landing Point for every ISP, or Broad band service porvider, in Pakistan.
    This is the fault of the Anti-Trust Authority to take notice of Cartelisation of Internet in the whole country with the worst Internet Services Rated by most popular including the Express Tribune. When licenses were issued for Spectrum Auction the Landing Point Infrastructure is the most important step to be taken by the MOITT.
    The whole country is hi-jacked by one PTCL with worst and cartelised service in the presence of the Anti-Trust Authority of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Farrukh Kayani
    Mar 10, 2015 - 11:50AM

    Is this the reason my internet is not working properly?Recommend

  • HAROON RASHID
    Mar 10, 2015 - 4:01PM

    @Tardy Telecom:
    Is this verified from the SECP if the company is fully owned by the stock holders, or any title/ownership by share purchase, holding,, of Etisalat/PTCL. Suggest the SECP and CCOP should clarify this thru thru the KSE, or else both the regulatory authorities should take action. Yes the PTA should also verify this., as shortly blessings of CCOP all ISP’s, will be eligible for Landing Point.Recommend

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