Optical fibre link to usher in new era in Balochistan -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Optical fibre link to usher in new era in Balochistan

QUETTA- The President of Pakistan is to inaugurate the Quetta-Shikarpur-Sukkur optical fibre link. The inauguration of fibre link will usher in a new era of progress in Balochistan.

Situated at a strategic location, bordering Iran, Afghanistan and touching the hot waters of Gulf and Arabian sea, Balochistan is the biggest province of Pakistan with an area of 3,47,190 sq. km.

The Government is paying special attention to build up basic infrastructure in Balochistan and to achieve that objective, PTCL is also contributing a lot to provide state-of-the-art telecom facilities to the people of the province. For a population of over 6.3 million, 87,790 telephone connections are working with 81,900 digital lines, 2833 analog EMD and 3057 manual lines.

The provincial capital, Quetta, is connected with rest of the country with two digital transit exchanges using the old analogue microwave system. Sibi and Loralai have also got digital transit exchanges for nationwide connectivity, besides that a wide network of digital exchanges with deep rural penetration is also operational for the social uplift of Balochistan.

In transmission sector, a major breakthrough was made in May 2000 when Sibi was connected with Shikarpur on optical fibre media by installing 622 Mbit/set, high capacity SOH optical fibre system.

Before May, 2000 all the digital transit exchanges of Balochistan were operating via conventional analogue microwave media with transmultiplexer analogue to digital interfaces. Analogue microwave media was susceptible to weather dependent fading phenomena causing noise on telephone channels, call dropping, congestion due to low capacity of media, cross-talk, low speed of Internet calls and degraded performance of data communication channels.

The 214 km long Shikarpur-Sibi section mainly comprising normal soil with some waterlogged pockets in between Shikarpur-Jacobabad and D.M Jamali and thus its execution was easy. The I65 km long Sihi-Quetta section passes through 100 km length of the historic.

Bolan Pass mainly comprising hard rock with some markable rock pockets. Beyond Dhadar up to Kohlpur, the optical fibre cable has been laid along the road bank facing hard and rugged mountains.

The old D.C sets at Mach and Dhadar have also been replaced by new ones to ensure stable stand by AC power supply. Quetta has now been provided optical connectivity with the rest of the country by trial loading of newly installed 622 Mbit/sec SDH optical fibre system between Sibi-Quetta. Two of the optical digital transit exchange locations have been provided optical fibre media while Loralai transit exchange is planned to be linked with Quetta on optical fibre during 2001-2002. Thus the entire Balochistan will be making long distance speech and data calls via optical fibre by the end of year 2002.

The entire optical fibre route between Sukkur-Quetta via Shikarpur/Sibi has been completed within a period of about two years from March 1999 to March 2001 and final commissioning by May 2001. However the Sukkur-Shikarpur- Sibi section was commissioned in May 2000 and digital transmission signal of 155 Mbit/sec speed was extended to Quetta by patching with 155 Mbit/sec digital radio system at Sibi. Total 9 pairs are available on the optical fibre cable while only one pair has been loaded providing 7560 telephone channels, thus the ultimate capacity of the link is almost unlimited.

Quetta-Shikarpur-Sukkur optical fibre cable link project cost Rs 240 million. It was completed within two years from March 1999 to March 2001. Length of optical fibre cable from Quetta to Shikarpur is 379 km while the number of stations enroute include Sukkur-Shikarpur-Jacobabad- D.M. Jamali-Belpat-Sibbi- Dhadar-Machech-Quetta. The present capacity of the system is 622 Mbit (7560 voice channels) that can be expanded to the requirement.

Source: Business Recorder