It is a well-known truth that Pakistan’s fixed broadband network is inadequate in servicing the rising internet demands of the country. If Pakistan does not upgrade its fixed broadband infrastructure to a high-speed fibre optic network, its digital potential will continue to be under-realised. According to the latest report prepared by TABADLAB, Pakistan needs a $6 bn investment for optic fibre internet connectivity.
According to a working paper titled “The Fixed Broadband Challenge: Building the runway for Pakistan’s Economic Take-Off”, countries like Malaysia, Bangladesh and Vietnam have done well to expand their infrastructure and services. Their examples can provide Pakistani leaders with key insights on how important the role of fibre expansion can be for the digital transformation of the country.
Pakistan Needs $6 bn Investment for Optic Fibre Internet Connectivity
No doubt, the internet in Pakistan is inhibited by spectrum challenges, a slow progression towards next-generation connectivity, and a high reliance on mobile broadband – robust and expanded fixed-line infrastructure is critical for reliable high speed connectivity. The authors examine the supply-side limitations of Pakistan’s fixed line connectivity. Their work finds that Pakistan’s policy and regulatory space is not equipped to meet the country’s increasing internet needs.
According to estimates, an investment of at least $6 billion is required to address the potential target pool of 10 million house passes. An investment of this magnitude is beyond the current capacity and intent of existing service providers who are investing around $100 to $150 million per annum on fixed broadband.
The authors illustrate areas where the current policy landscape will require greater attention: clearly defined objectives and longer-term outcomes; policy frameworks devised to protect both business and consumer interests; robust implementation and accountability that optimises the number of implementing bodies needed; and coherence among different policies that centres outcomes enabled through digital.
Source: The Nation