Pakistan moving towards Satellite-based broadband


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan moving towards satellite-based broadb and striving to ensure that everyone has access to Internet, WealthPK reported on Thursday.

According to Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s latest updates, broadband penetration in the country has reached 49.94% with 110 million customers. Pakistan’s tele-density has also increased to 85.65% with 188 million cellular subscribers.

With the rising number of cellphone users, Pakistan needs to do more to ensure Internet access to those who do not have it as yet.
In this respect, US-based global satellite broadband provider Starlink plans to provide satellite-based broadband Internet to Pakistan.

The firm, which has already been registered in the country, is expected to open an office in the country in the near future, marking the company’s first push into South Asia, WealthPK reported.

Starlink aims to provide 1Gbps connection speeds, 900Mbps average speeds and far higher reliability than other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the country.

According to Syed Aminul Haque, minister of information technology and telecommunications, Starlink’s Internet would help boost penetration in unserved and underserved areas of the country, which will be particularly beneficial for promoting remote learning in the education sector.

Additionally, the Pakistan-China Fiber Optic Project, which has been termed as a recreation changer, will not only contribute to digital connectivity, but also facilitate regional trade, e-commerce and e-governance.

The $44-million project is an 820-kilometre-long fiber optic cable laid from northwest China’s Xinjiang to Islamabad through Gilgit-Baltistan. The line then connects with Pakistan’s current optical communication network, WealthPK reported.

Moreover, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications aims to deploy Fifth Generation (5G) technology in Pakistan by 2023. 5G plan is based on the fact that the telecom industry has already grown to $17 billion after acquiring international investments worth $1.2 billion over the last three years. Multiple companies have already shown interest in launching 5G in Pakistan.

Emerging 5G networks feature lower latency, higher capacity, and increased bandwidth compared with 4G. These network improvements will have far-reaching impact on how people live and work.

E-commerce and digitisation will help the government ensure transparency in money transactions and broaden the tax base as currently a large part of Pakistan’s economy is informal. A majority of firms, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, are undocumented and hence do not pay taxes.

A McKinsey Global Institute report estimates that Pakistan can have an annual increase of 2 to 2.5% in its GDP along with the creation of around 2.3 million new jobs by 2030 through utilisation of digital services.

Fast Internet will help digitalise Pakistan by connecting people with robust purpose-built technology, thus opening up opportunities for industries as well as individuals.

According to an analysis commissioned by Google, digital transformation can help Pakistan generate $59.7 billion in annual economic value by 2030.
Pakistan has made significant progress towards creating an Internet sector with broad reforms that focus on increasing broadband availability across the country.

For the country’s youths, the move to a digital gateway opens up new possibilities. The youth must be ready to seize the approaching chances by exploring new routes to broaden and improve their areas of knowledge.

Pakistan is transforming towards a digital gateway, serving as a platform for extension of a regional digital economy and interconnectivity through digital trade, investments and sharing of knowledge.

The footprints of Starlink in Pakistan, laying of optical fiber and introduction of 5G technology will help bring down communication barriers, especially in remote and backward areas of the country. -INP