Pakistan and East Africa Connecting Europe (PEACE) Cable International Network Company Limited was founded in 2018 and is registered in Hong Kong. It is a subsidiary of Hentong Optic-Electric, one of China’s largest IT services providers.
The following 5 key facts highlight the project’s significance:
1. Pakistan to Europe link via Africa
PEACE will link Pakistan to France by 2021 using the Asia-Europe route and Mombasa (Kenya) through 12,000 kilometres of cable called ‘PEACE Med‘. In the future, it is likely to extend till South Africa reaching a total of 15,000 kilometres.
French telecom giant Orange will handle landing operations in Marseilles whereas infrastructure development responsibilities will be shared by Hong Kong-based PCCW Global.
Renowned Pakistani firm Cybernet (owned by Lakson Group) will handle PEACE operations in Karachi. In fact, Wu Qianjun, CEO of PEACE Cable and Vice President of Hengtong Group, termed the project as “a strategic pivot for the Hengtong Group“. Essentially, it refers to the significance of PEACE cable to provide China with communication access to Europe and vice versa.
2. Part of Critical Chinese Strategic Policies
PEACE cable as an enabler of China’s ‘digital silk road’ will fulfill two long-term strategic priorities of the incumbent Communist Party of China (CPC) leadership as outlined by its parent company’s stated agenda:-
- Made in China (2025): An industrial initiative initiated by Premier Li Keqiang in 2015 to boost the value chain of Chinese manufacturing industry toward a more technology-intensive agenda. Reportedly, it has the potential to place China in direct industrial competition with the US.
- Belt and Road Initiative (2049): It is a global development strategy encompassing 152 countries in Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Americas initiated by President Xi Jinping in 2013. The project comprises Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
The geo-economic and geostrategic value of Pakistan in the digital domains for Beijing increase manifold through PEACE cable project.
3. High-Level Security Integrity
PEACE cable’s parent company Hengtong Optic-Electric Company Limited has developed specialised communication networks for various government and industrial sectors in China including Ministry of National Defence, General Staff Department of the People’s Liberation Army.
This is an indication about the high-end integrity enjoyed by PEACE cable’s backbone.
Here it worth adding that Hengtong’s production value is achieved through rigorous scientific research and development activities. The company owns the following major R&D platforms:
- State-level Corporate Technical Centre
- National Corporate Postdoctoral Research Station
- Jiangsu Provincial Academician Workstation
- Jiangsu Province Optical Cable Transmission Engineering Technology Research Centre
4. Improved Latency and Speed
In addition, network latency will be sigicantly reduced with a Round Trip Delay of almost 89 ms from Karachi, Pakistan (Point of Origin) to Marseilles, France (Point of Landing).
5. Carrier-Neutral Cabling
PEACE cable will be a carrier-neutral open submarine cable. There are many advantages of having carrier-neutrality because they facilitate multiple networks, content/service providers and increased partnerships.
Carrier-neutral cables have more resilient access as they are delivered within the data centre.