Optical fiber cable to boost Pakistan Railways operations: WealthPK

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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Railways (PR) is keen to upgrade and boost its rail operations through the Optical Fiber Cable (OFC), which will be installed under the second phase of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), reports WealthPK.

A senior official of Pakistan Railways told WealthPK on condition of anonymity that the OFC would be deployed along the Main Line – 1 track, which will help enhance the operations and communication system of the rail haulage. The survey of laying the cable has been awarded to the Transworld, while the inspection work is in process along the rail track’s right of way, he said.

According to Engr. Rizwan at Lucky Phone, the OFC is utilized as a medium for telecommunication and computer networking due to its flexibility and can be bundled as cables. It is especially useful for long-distance communications because infrared light spreads through the fibre with a much lower reduction compared to electricity in electrical cables.

Under the first phase of the CPEC project, the Special Communication Organisation (SCO) has installed 820km OFC from Rawalpindi to Khunjerab and has established the first-ever direct telecom connectivity with China, which will generate a lot of revenue for the government.

In addition, the project of laying the fibre optic cable along the BRI route is considered to be the backbone of digital connectivity and is important for exchange of information technology between China, Pakistan and the entire Europe.

In the same way, the planned extension of the OFC network from Rawalpindi to Karachi and Gwadar covers phase 2 of the project, which is a part of the Belt and Road Initiative. This phase will also see the SCO deploying OFC from Rawalpindi to Gwadar and Karachi along the CPEC routes, and establishing a landing station at Gwadar. The project will cost over USD236 million, of which 15 percent has been appropriated for local components, and 85 percent for foreign exchange components.

The OFC network expands over a length of around 8,000km; the project will foresee a national Information and Communication Technology that will cut dependence on the foreign infrastructure. Furthermore, it will not only provide connectivity between the neighbouring countries, but also make Pakistan a centre of regional connectivity.