RAWALPINDI -  The first phase of $44 million project aimed to connect Pakistan with China through high speed fiber optic cable is expected to be completed by next year, one year ahead of schedule.

The first phase of project was initiated this year under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Project. Work on eight sections of 100-125 kilometers length was started simultaneously. By employing special tools, human resource and skills the project is expected to be completed by next year, one year ahead of schedule.

Director Pakistan-China Optical Fiber Cable project Colonel Waseem Ahmed in an interview told The Nation that 820 kilometer fiber optic cable will be laid from Khunjerab to Rawalpindi and in second phase the cable will be laid from Rawalpindi to Gwader and Karachi.

Special Communication Organisation is a affiliated department of Pakistan Army. It is a public sector organization established in 1976 to develop, operate and maintain telecom services in Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.

The organization was given task to provide telecom facilities in the mountainous region after T&T failed to provide telecom services in hard geographic locations of AJK and GB.

As per law, the organization is under joint control of Ministry of IT and Army.

In fiber optic project also the organization will have to fight against extreme weather and other challenges.

Under the project cable will be laid from hilly areas of Khunjerab to Karimabad, Naran, Masnsehra, Abbottabad, Taxila, and Rawalpindi, one of the most difficult terrains of the country.

Ahmed said weather, geographic conditions and extreme low temperatures are the main challenges of the first phase of the project.

There are 120 bridges, 20 tunnels, 7 land crossings and many glaciers and landslides we have to negotiate, he said.

He said de to extreme weather at Babusar top and some areas in chillas and Sost, his orgasniation has employed specialized tools.

When completed, this back-haul fiber optic cable will provide Pakistan with a direct telecom access to China, Central Asian States and from there to Europe and to and from the United States.

Pakistan is currently connected with the world through four undersea fiber optic cables, while another five are being built and will be operational in the next couple of years.

Officials believe after the laying of fiber optic from China to Gawader and Karachi the country will have international connectivity.

It will connect western, central and eastern route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor not only providing employment opportunities to locals but would provide telecom services in un served and underserved areas of the route, Projector director said.