Internet services in Pakistan face a big glitch

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Internet services in Pakistan face a big glitch

Of late, the internet services in Pakistan have been duly affected due to a glitch that occurred in a major submarine cable link, causing it to go offline.

The disruptions occurred earlier this week near Cairo, Egypt, at the SEA-ME-WE-5 cable that connects Pakistan internationally with TransWorld as its local partner.

Presently, Pakistan is connected to the outside world through six sub-aquatic fiber optic cables. The two license holders of submarine cables for international landing stations are Transworld Associates (TWA) and the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), while SCO manages the Pak-China Fiber Optic Cable, which connects Pakistan with China through Khunjerab.

The TWA is responsible for operating:

- SEA-ME-WE-5 with a design capacity of 24 Tbps - TW-1 with a design capacity of 1.28 Tbps

While the PTCL submarine cable network includes:

- SEA-ME-WE-3 with a design capacity of 480 Gbps - SEA-ME-WE-4 with a design capacity of 1.28 Tbps - I-ME-WE with a design capacity of 3.86 Tbps - AAE-1 with a design capacity of 40Tbps

SCO cable network include:

- Pak-China Fiber Optic Cable

It wouldn’t be out of place to mention that PTCL cables are up and their users are not impacted by the incident.

But having said this, the 20,000KM affected cable system SEA-ME-WE-5 alone is responsible for carrying a majority of Pakistan’s internet traffic and meets almost half of Pakistan’s international bandwidth demands by connecting us to Asia Pacific, Middle East and Europe.

While the technical teams are working to restore the internet connectivity and recover the lapse in the services as soon as possible, it is a given that it will require at least a time span of two weeks (or more) to get fully restored.

While the work is in progress, and while TWA is getting the fix done, ISPs could (rather should) shift the load to an alternate bandwidth on other submarine systems such as PTCL, as it turns out to be the only option for ISPs to provide an immediate solution that will ease the internet users’ suffering meanwhile.

It is essential to realize that while Pakistan is aiming to become a country with digital economy based on Information Technology, reliable connectivity is very crucial.

For a country with a large capacity of internet users, the role of connectivity providers to deliver more resilient network solutions becomes more important than ever.

The system should offer improved quality of services with a more extensive network of fiber cable optics that may divide the load so that there is no hindrance in case of emergencies like this.