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China-Pakistan Cross-border Optical Fiber Cable Project
Special Report on CPEC Projects (Transportation Infrastructure: Part 3)

1. Brief introduction

China-Pakistan cross-border optical fiber cable project is a prioritized/early harvest project under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), with a total amount of USD 44 million. Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. is selected to implement the project. The Chinese government agreed to provide a USD 44 million concessional loan to Pakistan to implement this project. It runs from Rawalpindi to Khunjrab. It includes 820 km cable laying, 9 sites civil work, equipment installation and commissioning in the equipment room, as well as the backup of microwave links. The working environment is harsh, in particular that there is an altitude of 4500m near Chinese-Pakistan boarder.

2. Latest progress

During Chinese President’s visit to Pakistan in May 2015, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif inaugurated this project. The project formally commenced in September 2015, with a construction period of 27months. Prime minister Nawaz Sharif participated in the ground breaking ceremony of the project in May 2016.

Until the end of March, 2017, 487km of civil work has been completed, and 294km optical cable has been laid. The longest sub-section from Rawalpindi to Mansehra has been optically connected and ready for business traffic. Two largest equipment buildings have been completed. The main transmission equipment is being manufactured. It is scheduled to be completed in November, 2017.

3. Corporate social responsibility

1) This project has created job opportunities for the local people. At the peak, there are 580 people every day at the construction site;

2) Once the project is completed, it will lay a foundation for digital information superhighway for the two countries, and promote the e-commerce environment and so on;

3) Pakistan’s main international gateway optical fiber outlet now depends only on the submarine optical fiber cable near Karachi. China-Pakistan cable will provide Pakistan another international gateway outlet, and accelerate the speed of internet surfing for the Pakistanis, in particular those websites in China and East Asian countries.

(Ginger Jiang, Public Affair Director of Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd.)

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