Sunday February 05, 2023

CPFOP: Pak-China leading project of digital connectivity

July 20, 2020

ISLAMABAD: China-Pakistan Fiber Optic Project (CPFOP), the major project of digital connectivity between the two countries has become operational, hoping it will lead to a better life, said a report carried by Gwadar Pro on Sunday.

This project is considered to be the backbone of digital connectivity and is important for the information technology exchange between China and Pakistan. The digital connectivity technology of China can now be transferred to Pakistan through fiber optics.The report quoting China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Chairperson Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa, said the new fiber optic cables from Khunjerab Pass to Islamabad, laid under the CPEC framework. The fiber optic cables will be laid from Islamabad to Karachi and Gwadar in the next phase. The foundation for digital/IT revolution-project is being processed in conjunction with China.

The project included laying of 850 km of underground and Ariel optical fiber cable from Rawalpindi to khunjerab ultimately linking with China.

The system is supported by high capacity microwave links as backup, thus the stage was set to execute one of the most challenging and unique telecommunications and information technologies projects in the highest mountain ranges of the world.

Extreme weather conditions, frequent landslides, limited deployment corridors with glaciated mountains, continuous water channels and negotiating large number of bridges and tunnels were some of the major problems.

The work was executed in most professional manner with multiple tiers of supervision and management and execution levels. To address the problems of limited deployment corridors, specialized machinery was imported to avoid damage for recently constructed roads.

Besides this strategic significance, the project has broad socio economic dimensions as well, with its key role in support of other schemes being implemented under the ambit of CPEC. the optical fiber cabling has great importance for international transit traffic . Due to low latency, the project with such broad socio economic and technological dimensions is excepted to be a game changer by transforming trade corridor into digital corridor.

Currently, Pakistan’s international connectivity is via submarine cables. CPFOP will provide an alternative route for international telecom traffic and also assist in achieving the rapidly growing internet traffic demand in Pakistan. It is estimated that 17 million people will get benefit from this project.

The new network will be beneficial to Pakistan by improving internet penetration and increasing speed, especially in Baluchistan and Gilgit-Baltistan, regions where internet connectivity has ranged from poor to non-existent. It should also reduce the cost of internet connections, the report added.