Railways intends to lay fibre optic cables along tracks

March 24, 2023

Saba Javed

Pakistan Railways intends to install fibre optic cables along the country's railway lines to raise revenues through a joint venture with investors from the private sector. An official from Railways Ministry told WealthPK that Pakistan Railways has a 7,791 km rail network that would not only improve the department's financial situation but also entice investors to invest.

According to him, Pakistan Railways’ rail network runs through densely populated areas and connects major cities of the four provinces. With average assets and substantial pension obligations, Pakistan Railways' financial situation is deteriorating, and until new revenue streams are found, its reliance on government subsidies will only increase. Pakistan Railways believes that right-of-way fees on fibre optic cables will provide the department with a respectable stream of income.

The official said that due to its poor financial condition and meagre revenue streams, the Ministry of Railways sent a summary to the prime minister last August suggesting that the business model of laying fibre optic cables on railway land in a joint venture with investors from the private sector be adopted.

According to the official, the prime minister accepted the plan but instructed the Ministry of Railways to design a new strategy in conjunction with all parties that would help the digital economy grow and present it to the ECC. He added that the ECC members had a thorough discussion of the issue. He believed that Pakistan Railways may be permitted to install fibre optic cables on its property in a joint venture with private firms.

Credit: Independent News Pakistan-WealthPk