July / August  2006




August/September Contents 

Sufis - wisdom against

 Sufi poet saints

 50 years of mountain

 Interviews with:
 Ajaz Anwar
Iqbal Hussain
Kamil Mumtaz

 Heritage cities:
 Taxila Dharmrajika
 Bhera - Part I
Bhera - Part II


Cotton - the fibre of

Cotton textiles of
 South Asia

 Handlooms & Dyes

 Hiran Minar


 Lahore Gymkhana

 B2B - Part I

B2B - Part II

Optical Networks I
Optical Networks II

Role of Internet in
 S Asian development

Technology and
 investment in US
 stock markets

Security & Trust in
 Internet banking

 Telecom & software
 - trends & future in
 South Asia

China & India - major
 players by 2025

Pakistan - IT Markets
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV









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Pakistan – Markets in IT & Telecomm Convergent Technologies

Part II


 the Special report undertaken for The abstracts will be published in parts over the next year. The complete unabridged report is available to interested readers for U.S. $300.00


Salman Minhas


First published in May/June 2003




BROADBAND- Fiber-Optic Backbone – 1995- 2003

Broadband was first introduced in Pakistan in 1995 by Telstra [ Australian telecoms company] with the design of the repeater huts being done by Designman –an Islamabad civil engineering firm. Other private sector companies now actively involved in the expansion and development of telecom services are Tellabs and Newbridge-Alcatel for the Digital Cross-Connect Switches, and LTE - Pakistan’s own Fiber-Optics cable manufacturer whose factory is located in Hattar industrial area near Tarbela in the Frontier Province.

Currently all major metropolitan Exchange-to-Exchange links are Fiber-Optic [henceforth "Fiber"]. The Chinese Fiber Optic companies of ZTE and Hua Wei are active since 2000 in providing Dense Wave Division Multiplexing Equipment [DWDM] for multiplexing the existing Fiber Optic capacity and increasing the channels to more than 40 per fiber cable. The backbone from Karachi to Islamabad/Rawalpindi, via Lahore, Multan, Sukkur, and up to Peshawar is essentially intersected by the "ribs". The ribs connect this backbone to cities such as Mardan, Nowsherra, and Kohat in the north; to Sialkot, Gujranwala, Faislabad, and other small towns in Punjab. In Sindh, Hyderabad on the main backbone connects to Rahim Yar Khan, Sehwan Sharif, Khairpur, etc.

According to the Chairman of PTCL, Akhtar Ahmed Bajwa,

" …. PTCL has hardly any spare capacity on the national backbone long distance fiber links. However we have spare dark Fibers to be illuminated. PTCL spare fiber pairs will be loaded with 10 GB DWDM equipment on backbone network within the next 12 months. Dedicated capacity [400 to 500 Mbits (2/3) - STM1 would be allocated for Data /Internet requirements in backbone network, once this project is implemented. The new DWDM project would provide capacity to PTCL at lower cost, which will enable further lowering of prices of leased capacities to ISPs and other customers."

"PTCL has provided Universal Internet Access to 540 cities, towns, and villages. Some facts need to be considered like urban teledensity, which in Pakistan is 10 %; the rural teledensity is less than 0.3 % on average. In Ghotki, for example, the population is 52,000 and there is a telephone exchange with capacity of 2,000. Ghotki is connected with Sukkur with a 2 MB [ 30 circuits] …all of which were meant for voice .Out of this 10 % are meant for Internet [ interview by A.M Bhatti – Internet Magazine Feb 2003]


 Broadband - Metro Fiber-to-the-Business [FTTB] - 2003:

In March 2003, PTCL rolled out FTTB in major cities in a bid to provide high-speed Broadband telecom services [cable-TV, high-speed Internet, Video-Conferencing, Video-Phones, etc]. Two Chinese Telecom Equipment makers have recently started to provide major Fiber Optic and related wireless technologies to PTCL. These are Hua Wei and ZTE. They provide Dense Wave Division Multiplexing [DWDM] to expand the Fiber Channel capacity up to 40 channels and Fixed Wireless CDMA Base Stations.


 Digital Cross Connect Network:

Climbing up the access ladder, next comes the switching of the national fiber optic network, called the Digital Cross Connect (DXX) Network. [Digital Cross Connect (DCS) or DCS is a device that switches channels between two or more transmission facilities. The types of network cross connections managed by a DCS can range from STSx to   DSx speeds/capacities.

PTCL's DXX network is currently available in only 30 cities. While plans are in place to increase this reach to 50 cities, even this figure is not very impressive considering the fact that except for the major cities, this 'network presence' in remote cities is very thin. For most new requirements, the systems need to be upgraded before the demand can be fulfilled. The DXX network presence is the prime requirement of any Internet Service Provider operating in the smaller cities and remote areas. PTCL needs to augment the capacity of this network to meet the immediate future requirements.

Also, the management of PTCL has been unofficially discouraging interconnects between ISPs using these DXX circuits citing the absence of any explicit rules in this regard. The industry has taken up this matter with Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). If PTA clears up the confusions and allows for unrestricted establishment of DXX circuits between the ISPs to facilitate private peering points, then Private peering will impart some much needed resiliency to the Internet in Pakistan, off load the expensive international Internet backbone and result in better network response when the communicating parties are local to each other.

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