Afghanistan’s much awaited and ambitious fiber optic connectivity project is at its final stage and is estimated to be completed in seven months. Officials from the Afghan Telecom expressed their hope in slashing internet service prices once the fiber optic network is commissioned and put into operation. The project will connect Afghanistan and China via the Wakhan port.
Afghanistan is connected to five of its neighbors by optical fiber cables, but technical issues within the country are reasons for slow internet services and high consumer prices. Afghan Telecom official said the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology is working on the implementation of the Wakhan corridor project and is also undertaking many other similar projects to connect his country with neighbors. One example is the Silk Route fiber-optic network connecting Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
Wakhan, a district in Badakshan Province is a very mountainous and rugged part of the Pamir, Hindu Kush and Karakoram regions of Afghanistan. In March this year, the Minister of Communications and Information Technology met with Ambassador of China to discuss the details of the project. The Minister also met with the European Union Ambassador in April and talked about the European aid in the sector of communications and information technology of Afghanistan, regional digital connectivity. They also talked about collaborating in the fiber project connecting Afghanistan to China and other countries through the Wakhan Corridor. The project will utilize communication technologies such as fiber optic and satellite
The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) has received the Project Preparatory Grant/Fund from the World Bank to prepare for execution of Digital CASA Afghanistan Project. MCIT will appoint a consultant for the project. The Digital CASA project aims to expand and strengthen the Regional and National level broadband connectivity based on Optical Fiber Networks, which will boost up digital society and economy through e-Governance initiatives. All these developments will contribute to the growth of the ICT Sector in Afghanistan.
Afghanistan has an ambitious plan to divert the country’s human resources from destructive politics towards building a positive and constructive overall growth of the country. Afghanistan could be a data hub for the CASA region. In order to achieve this, the nation needs to strengthen the regional and domestic backbone connectivity through Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) Networks. To realize the dream of making Afghanistan a data-hub, capacities of systems and networks both internal and external need to be beefed up. Apart from these, many other redundancy routes need to be constructed and interlinked with the provinces where till date no connectivity has been established.
Afghanistan’s telecom backbone networks are connected to the telecom networks in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, and Pakistan. It is also planned to establish Regional Connectivity between Afghanistan and China via the Wakhan Border of Afghanistan-China.
MCIT had identified the new optical fiber cable based networks that are required to be established:-
New Regional Connectivity Routes:
Faizabad in Badakhshan (Afghanistan)-Wakhan Border-China Border Post: 480+20 Kms;
Farah Road(Afghanistan)-Farah(Afghanistan)-Iran Border: 125 Kms;
Delaram(Afghanistan)-Nimroz(Zaranj-Afghanistan)-Iran Border: 220 Kms.
New Domestic Connectivity Routes in Afghanistan: Faizabad(Badakshan)-Panjshir: 319 Kms;
Panjshir-Jabalsaraj(on Mazaar Route): 47 Kms;; Faizabad(Badakshan)-Nooristan; 280 Kms;
Nooristan-Asadabad(Kunar): 110 Kms;Kundoz-Khulm: 130 Kms;
Waras(Bamiyan)-Nilli(Daikundi): 272 Kms;
Nilli(Daikundi)-Oruzghan(Tarinkot): 178 Kms;
Oruzghan(Tarinkot)-Kandahar: 95 Kms;
Yakawlang(Bamiyan)-Chagcharan(Ghor): 294 Kms;
Chagcharan(Ghor)-Heraat: 354 Kms;
Ghormach-Badghis(Qalaienow): 255 kms;
Sheberghan-Sarepul: 60 Kms.