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Khostis grumble over unfinished fiber-optic project

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Khostis grumble over unfinished fiber-optic project

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Apr 19, 2017 - 00:25

KHOST CITY (Pajhwok): The fiber optic project in southeastern Khost province took seven years to be completed instead of the promised six months, civil societyinfo-icon activists and provincial council members say.

They accuse the government of committing negligence in implementation of the fiber optic project in Khost.

The project’s launch and cost

Work on putting down the underground wires was launched in July 2011 and at the time of its inauguration, the provincial authorities had said the project would be completed in six months and put into service.

Though work on the project has been done to a great extent, yet it hasn’t finished fully and in some areas the work done needed repair as well.

The cable’s length extended from Kabulinfo-icon to southeastern provinces is 480 kilometres which cost $12 million through funding from the Worldinfo-icon Bank (WB).

The fiber-optic network was made operational in Logar, Paktia and Paktika provinces about three years ago

People’s complaints and concerns

A civil society activist in Khost, Ahmad Shah, criticized the Telecommunications and Information Technology Department of the province, saying the project’s affairs were slow going due to the department’s incompetency.

Shah on Tuesday told Pajhwok Afghan News: “This department seriously needs a head-to-toe reform. If a department can’t implement a six-month project in seven years, its existence and activities come under serious question.”

He said some fiber-optic cables extended to Khost City, the provincial capital, had been cut during reconstructioninfo-icon of roads and streams as the lines were buried in an un-standardized manner.

He asked the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology (MCIT) to bring positive changes to their agencies in Khost and complete the fiber-optic network successfully besides seriously monitoring the quality of other telecom services.

A resident of Khost city, Karim Mangal, said children had broken boxes from which connections were given to homes.

He told Pajhwok people didn’t value fiber-optic cables because they carried no internet.

“If officials want to activate the fiber-optic network, they should resume work on it. And if the situation continues, the pylons erected at the beginning on every street would begin disappearing.”

“We were optimistic and had a hope that the fiber-optic network will enable us to benefit from a high-speed internet and telephonic services, but we didn’t expect the project’s success would fall prey to official negligence.”

Meanwhile, an agricultureinfo-icon faculty student at the Sheikh Zayed University in Khost City, Mohammad Kazim, said the internet was very slow and its cost was high in the province.

He said all private companies, schools, universities and others in Khost needed a high-speed internet. “When we search for investigative topics, it needs high-speed internet.

Provincial council’s view

A member of Khost provincial council, Qadeem Afghan, the fiber optic project failed because there had been a lack of coordination by the MCIT with the project-implementing company and the local department. Another reason was improper execution of the project from the beginning, he added.  

“The MCIT isn’t being provided proper report about the project as work done here is overstated and flaws are not pointed out correctly to the ministry.”

Qadeem Afghan said an internet and telephonic network named ‘CCN2’, a second cable communication network which was completed two years back could not be launched so far due to the delayed fiber-optic project.

“The cable to Gardez was cut two or three times during asphalting of the road because the line was buried in an unprincipled manner.”

He also asked the MCIT to ensure the optic fiber project was executed properly and the barriers its way were removed.

Provincial officials’ reaction

Khost Telecommunications and IT Department head Eng. Gul Habib Shah admitted the project had consumed much time, citing the Khost-Gardez road’s construction behind the delay.

He said the fiber-optic cable was connected with Kabul few days ago and would be inaugurated at a special ceremony soon.

“All the work has finished and Inshaallah it will be inaugurated soon. We acknowledge excessive delays mainly because of the Khost-Gardez road’s construction.”  

He also confirmed the CCN2 network’s lines were cut off during reconstruction of roads and streams, saying budget for their repair had been allocated.

The fiber-optic network’s activation in Khost has direct impact on the 3G internet service by Salam telecom, CCN2 and some other internet and telephonic services.

Currently 3G internet service by Salaam is available in Khost, but people are unsatisfied with the internet speed.

sns/ma

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