China Build Digital Connectivity Through Fiber Optic Cables


China Build Digital Connectivity Through Fiber Optic Cables

The Gwadar Port connects East Africa with Europe with Fiber Optic Cables

Building digital connectivity through Silk Road overseas is seen as part of China’s efforts to become a global technology power. Recently, China-Pakistan cooperation in Pakistan’s communication fiber optic cable project into the final stage has received media attention.

China’s communications cable project in Pakistan

China’s communications cable project in Pakistan, as part of the China-Pakistan economic corridor, will connect submarine cables in the Arabian Sea to provide services to countries along the route that participate in China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

The report also said progress on many projects along the Belt and Road was affected by the new crown outbreak, including a $6.8 billion rail project in Pakistan. Still, China continued to step up efforts to advance digital and communications infrastructure projects at this time.

Eyck Freymann, author of Belt and Road: China’s Power Meets the World, argues that the focus of China’s Belt and Road initiative is “shifting from traditional infrastructure to high-tech collaboration and digital services”.

Some analysts believe that China’s overseas promotion of the digital economy, U.S. policy is also an essential factor.

Wang Yiwei, an international studies scholar at Chinese Min University, wrote last year that the U.S. was accelerating its push for the digital Silk Road by imposing a strategic crackdown on Chinese companies Huawei and 5G technology, coercing allies to decouple from China and trying to “de-Chinese” global supply chains.

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Gwadar Port goes digital with an optic cable network

Pakistan has been seeking to establish new Internet access. Most of Pakistan’s and Europe’s connected Internet traffic now done via land cables from China, Mongolia, Russia, and Kazakhstan.

The Nikkei Asia Review reported that the China-Pakistan cooperation communications fiber optic cable project is a strategic move to bypass the international consortium of Western and Indian companies dominated in global telecommunications.

The report quoted data from Telegeography, a U.S. research firm, saying that seven submarine cables were currently connected to Pakistan, four of which passed through India. These communication cables jointly developed by several companies, including telecommunications companies in India, Egypt, and Pakistan.

Related: Places to Visit in Gwadar

A few years ago, Major General Amir Azeem Bajwa, head of Pakistan’s military’s Special Communications Agency (SCO), told Pakistan’s parliament’s information technology committee that Pakistan’s Internet connections were essentially through India, so Pakistan was concerned about hacking and the vulnerability of sensitive data to theft.

Reported that Bakiwa has been trying to obtain the approval of the authorities to establish a bypass India, which can serve the port of Gwadar’s new communications network. Now the Pakistani government has approved a communications fiber optic cable project from Rawalpindi to Gwadar, which Pakistan will complete in cooperation with Huawei of China.

Wang Yiwei, a Chinese scholar, says one-third of the world’s new submarine fiber optic cables are laid by Huawei. Because submarine fiber optic cables are relevant to big data and information security, Huawei’s laying of fiber optic cables overseas is seen by the United States as a threat to military and industrial competition.

Huawei began selling its submarine fiber optic cable business, Huawei Ocean, last year after being accused by the United States of posing a national security risk and under intense pressure from sanctions. Last year, it was controlled by Hentung Group, a Chinese fiber, and cable maker.

Pakistan hopes that the project to lay new submarine cables in the Mediterranean Sea

Pakistan hopes that the project to lay new submarine cables in the Indian and Mediterranean Seas will allow the country to avoid communications disruption and disruption caused by damage to submarine communications cables. The acronym for the “Pakistan, East Africa, Connect Europe” cable is PEACE, meaning “peace.”

China’s Hengtong Group is involved in the Peace Submarine Cable Project with companies from Africa, Pakistan, and Hong Kong. Chinese media reported that the backbone of the Peace Cable Project would land in Pakistan, Djibouti, Egypt, Kenya, and France, building a vital communication channel connecting Asia-Europe and non-European economic corridors.

China’s Hentung Group signed a “peaceful” cable project agreement in 2018 with Cybernet, a network service provider in Pakistan, and Djibouti Telecom.

According to Chinese media reports, Hengtong Group currently has nine industrial bases worldwide. Most of which are located in Belt and Road. Hentong communication fiber optic cable network has covered more than 130 countries. And regions worldwide, a global fiber-optic network market share of 15%.

The Pakistani government has now approved Cybernet’s construction of a ground station for Arab submarine cables in Karachi. After which construction of lines in Pakistani waters could begin in March.

The undersea cables in the Mediterranean part of the sea have entered the laying phase. And will connect Egypt and France. The 15,000-kilometer-long undersea cable will be put into service later this year, the report said.

Gwadar Port in 2021

On 21 January, the Government of Pakistan approved the laying of the route from Rawalpindi to Gwadar. Pakistan has partnered with Huawei to complete the $240 million project.

The report says that Rawalpindi, once the capital of Pakistan, is home to the headquarters of the Pakistani army.

Pakistan’s military’s Special Communications Agency (SCO) will begin laying communications fiber-optic cables linking Rawalpindi and Karachi. As well as the Chinese-built and operated deep-water port of Gwadar. The fiber-optic network connects the two port cities mentioned above to the peace cables of the Arabian Sea.

The authorities responsible for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor have been working in recent months to improve transport. And communications facilities in the port of Gwadar and nearby Gwadar housing Schemes, including road and rail upgrades. Communication fiber optic cables now being laid along transport routes will consolidate the port of Gwadar into Pakistan’s national fiber-optic communications network.

China’s official Xinhua news agency reported in 2018 that the 820-kilometer-long “China-Pakistan fiber optic cable” linking Xinjiang and Rawalpindi has been built and put into operation. In addition, the communication fiber optic cable through Xinjiang has been connected through 9 lines to Central Asia’s Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, including the five Central Asian countries, Russia, and other countries more than 100 data lines.

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