Internet and voice data service providers in Pakistan using undersea fibre optic infrastructure operated by the Transworld Associates (TWA) can now enhance their bandwidth capacity by up to four times.
This will be enabled by a new sub-sea fibre optic cable with a capacity of 24 terabits per second (Tbps) that became operational on Thursday.
The South-East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe (SEA-ME-WE)-5 cable has been constructed by a consortium of 16 companies from countries in the region, including TWA from Pakistan. The cable runs through 20,000 kms, beginning at Singapore in South-East Asia and ending at Marseille in Western Europe.
Earlier, TWA was operating a 1,254-km-long TW-1 cable from Karachi to Oman and United Arab Emirates.
TWA and Pakistan Telecommunication Limited (PTCL) are the only two companies with landing rights in Pakistan for internet and voice data traffic. PTCL customers get these services through SEA-ME-WE 3 and 4 cables operated by the company.
A press statement issued by the TWA on Thursday stated that the cable’s advanced 100 gbps technology was equipped with latest technology. “It’s main endpoints are carrier-neutral, open Points-of-Presence (PoPs) and not Cable Landing Stations (CLS),” it said.
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The statement quoted SEA-ME-WE 5 Consortium Management Committee chairperson Linette Lee and said, “the completion of the project is a landmark system upgrade for all data users worldwide. This system facilitates a new age of digital transformation and innovation, catalyzing greater economic activities, trade and growth across three continents.”
TWA marketing manager Bilal Mughal told TR Pakistan that it would be a matter of days before end users could get enhanced speeds after ISPs and cellular services providers request bandwidth upgrades.
Other 15 members of the SEA-ME-WE 5 Consortium are: Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited, China Mobile International, China Telecom Global, China United Network Communications Group Company Limited, Djibouti Telecom, Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, Myanmar Post and Telecom, Ooredoo, Orange, PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia International, Saudi Telecom Company, Singapore Telecommunications Ltd, Sparkle, Sri Lanka Telecom PLC, Telecom Egypt, Telekom Malaysia Berhad, TeleYemen, and Turk Telekom International.
This piece first appeared on MIT Technology Review Pakistan and has been reproduced with permission.