Pakistan and Tajikistan Agree to Build Fiber Optic Network


Pakistan and Tajikistan will have soon digital connectivity over fiber optic cables passing through Afghanistan. The Central Asia-South Asia 1,000-megawatt (Casa-1,000) power supply project, in which fiber optic cables will also be laid along with electricity transmission lines will pave the way for connecting the two countries. The digital connectivity proposal by laying fiber optic cable along with the electricity transmission line has been approved by authorities in Tajikistan and Pakistan. Afghanistan, through where the cables will pass had also agreed for the construction of the transmission lines.

The power project named Casa-1 has cleared the way for three nations to connect the regions through a cable network called Digital Casa-I, which will link Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The Deputy Energy Minister of Tajikistan, Mr. Jamshed Shoimzoda told media that a fiber optic cable will be laid along with power transmission line between the two regions. He said further that his country is forging links to cooperate with Pakistan and the World Bank is also discussing the Digital Casa-I project with Tajikistan to exchange information.

The currently available fiber optic link between Tajikistan and Pakistan is complicated in its network and design. The existing cable takes a long route to reach Pakistan. It first goes to Russia, extends to Europe and then comes to Pakistan. The Casa-1 project will provide a good and alternative route to connect the two regions.

In December 2008Tajiktelecom (Tajikistan’s fixed-line telecommunications network) and China Telecom Corp, Ltd (China’s largest fixed service telecommunications provider) had built a fiber optic communication line that linked Tajikistan and China.

Fiber optic cables can be laid near to the power transmission lines. Optical fiber communication signals are not influenced by the presence of electrical signals. Though the cable elements may get deteriorate if installed near to the high voltage transmission lines, optical signals passing through fibers will be unaffected. By using Anti-tracking elements in the cable, the corona effect can be reduced, which will protect the cable elements from the electro-motive force.

Afghanistan will receive a transit fee for allowing the power transmission line to pass through its territory. This money will be spent on the welfare of local communities. A tender will be floated to invite quotations from interested parties. The project completion and commencement of energy supply is scheduled to start in the middle of 2018.

Pakistan is currently building an economic corridor that connects its North-eastern region to the seaports in the Southern region. China is funding the project. Fiber optic cables have been laid along the corridor. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is beneficial to China as it allows shorter sea and land routes for the ships coming from Africa and Europe to the Pakistan ports and then transports via the land to China. Pakistan has good relations with China. China’s strategy to promote ‘One Road One Belt’ initiative have promoted trade and cultural ties due to road connectivity.

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