Expanding Telecommunication Network

 Expanding Telecommunication Network

This component aims to provide the physical backbone to the ICT Sector by creating the necessary infrastructure. It has following four sub-components:

  1. Building Telephone Lines Network
  2. Building Internet Exchange Point
  3. Optic Fiber Network
  4. Broadband Connectivity

1.Building Telephone Lines Network

As part of the Afghan National Development Strategy, Ministry of Communications (MCIT) has identified a strategic vision for the Information and Communications Sector of Afghanistan as “making affordable information and communication services available in every district and village of Afghanistan through enabling market economy.” Specific goals included: (i) bringing every resident, every home and school, every business and every public sector institution into the digital age and online (ii) creating a digitally literate Afghanistan, supported by an entrepreneurial culture ready to finance and develop new ideas (iii) ensuring that the whole process is socially inclusive, builds consumer trust and strengthens social cohesion.

The MCIT’s plans include provisioning of Internet and Communications Services throughout the Country through different Media like Copper Cabling Networks, Optical Fiber Networks, Microwave Networks, WIMAX Networks and also through GSM Technologies. The most reliable Media for Digital Phones and the Internet Services is physical Copper Lines leading up to homes. MCIT has already laid 200,000 high calibre Copper Lines in selected Provinces of the Country during last 07 years and now wishes to expand this Network by about 30,000 more lines in 1390. This will benefit the society by having easy access to Digital Phones, Dial-up Internet facilities and also high speed Internet facilities through DSL Technology.

Program Goal and Objectives

  • Develop the capacity of the ministries and other Gov’t Agencies to communicate with the citizens of the Country through more reliable Digital Phones (wired on high grade Copper Lines) and through affordable Internet Services provided through these wired Networks by using DSL Technology.
  • Improve broadband connectivity across the country, including to the under-served provinces, by having Internet on wired Networks.
  • Reduce the costs associated with the Digital Phone and Internet Services.

Expected Results overall: 50,000 additional homes will have access to the most modern Telecommunication Services of the Country.

Timeline:  Number of Years Overall: Expansion of Communication Services is an on-going process as there is always high demand for such services. In 1390, it is planned to commission 30,000 Copper Lines in 10 Provincial Capital Cities of Afghanistan.

Costing/Budgeting: Project has just passed the Conceptualization Stage of MCIT and thus, only broad Implementation Plan, with Costing has been worked out so far. Overall Budget requirement is 16 Million USD in 1390, for laying of underground Copper Cables and connecting them with Digital Exchanges in 21 remaining Provincial Capital Cities of the Country.

2.Building Internet Exchange Point

As the Internet grows in size, number of users and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) continue to exchange increasing amount of data traffic. A basic underpinning of the Internet is points where inter-ISP traffic can be exchanged. These interconnection points are called Network Access Points (NAPs) or Exchange Points (EPs). To help cope with the ever-increasing amount of Internet traffic, many new Exchange Points have been deployed, and growth in use of existing EPs has increased. This trend is expected to continue as it seems to directly support the growth of the local and regional ISP industry, allowing local traffic exchange and reduced dependency on the large, established ISPs. (Details of Internet Exchanges are given at Annex 2).

It is proposed to establish the National Internet Exchange of Afghanistan (NIXA) with the purpose to encourage the exchange of Internet traffic in a free-market environment, between all interested parties.  By locating an Internet exchange in Kabul, near the majority of Afghanistan's Internet Service Providers and large Internet users, competition will be spurred, consumer prices will drop, operational costs will be reduced, reliability and redundancy will be improved, and a vast amount of new local Internet bandwidth will be created for sale to consumers.

The National Internet Exchange of Afghanistan (NIXA) is recognized to be in the beneficial interest of all stakeholders. General National Internet Exchange of Afghanistan (NIXA) technical, business, and operational policies shall be made publicly available on the NIXA web site.

NIXA will have the following characteristics:

  • NIXA shall never impose a mandatory fee upon any member, nor shall it bill any such fee on behalf of another party.  Furthermore, no monies shall ever flow between members through the NIXA Corporation.  Any costs (currently foreseen to include only property insurance and electricity) shall be met through the voluntary donations of any party, whether member or non-member, and donating parties shall be encouraged to donate according to their means, but not in excess of the NIXA’s present need. NIXA board shall endeavor to operate the exchange in a manner, which insures a fairness of the value to each member.
  • NIXA shall not endeavor to act as a go-between, point of aggregation, or distributor of regulatory or licensing burden among its members.
  • NIXA shall attempt to make resources available to members in accordance with need.  Specifically, the NIXA shall allocate switch ports to members based upon estimate or evidence of each member’s relative ability to fill the port with beneficial traffic.  In priority, ports shall be allocated to new members before second or additional ports are allocated to existing members.  Colocation space for members' routers in NIXA -maintained racks shall be limited to per member, and shall be allocated strictly on an as-needed basis.
  • NIXA shall impose no restriction upon the types of organization or individual who may become members and connect to the exchange.
  • NIXA shall impose no restrictions upon the internal technical, business, or operational policies of its members.
  • NIXA shall make no policy and establish no restrictions upon the bilateral or multilateral relationships or transactions, which the members may form between each other, so long as NIXA Corporation shall not be involved.
  • NIXA shall collect and make aggregate traffic statistics public on NIXA web site.
  • NIXA shall maintain reasonable security, both physical and network, regarding the switch, route reflectors, and members' interconnections with them.
  • Members shall be encouraged, but not required, to establish BGP peering sessions with one route reflector, which shall be operated as a publicly visible "looking glass."  Members shall be required to establish a BGP peering session and advertise all customer routes to the other route reflector, which shall be operated with respect for the privacy of members' routing information, but is necessary for the safe and reliable operation of the exchange, and the diagnosis and correction of exchange operational problems.
  • Members shall be required to sign a copy of NIXA policies document, indicating that they understand and agree to abide by its policies, before any resources shall be allocated to them.
  • Members shall be required to provide and maintain current technical contact information, which shall be publicly posted on NIXA web site. This information shall include at a minimum an internationally-dialable voice phone number, a NOC email role account, the IP address assigned to the member at the exchange, and the member's Autonomous System Number if they have one.
  • Members shall subscribe to a NIXA announcement email list, operated by  NIXA board.
  • Members have a duty of confidentiality to each other regarding NIXA affairs or information learned in the course of NIXA operation. This applies particularly to the NIXA board.
  • Members shall under no circumstances refer non-members to the NIXA board for resolution of technical problems.
  • Members shall endeavor to provide advance notice via email to each of their BGP peers, in the event that a service disruption or discontinuity of BGP peering can be foreseen.
  • Members may only connect equipment which they own and operate themselves to the NIXA. They may not connect equipment on behalf of third parties.
  • Members shall not advertise routes other than their own, without the prior written permission of the assigned holder of the address space.
  • Members shall not advertise a next-hop other than their own.
  • Members must, on all interfaces connected to the NIXA switch fabric, disable Proxy ARP, ICMP redirect, CDP, IRDP, directed broadcasts, IEEE802 Spanning Tree, any interior routing protocol broadcasts, and any MAC layer broadcasts other than ARP or inverse-ARP.
  • Members must, on all interfaces connected to the NIXA switch fabric, disable any duplex, speed, or other link parameter auto-sensing.
  • Members must set netmasks on all interfaces connected to NIXA to include the entire NIXA peering LAN.
  • Members must clearly label all equipment, which resides at the NIXA facility with ownership and contact information.
  • Members should not routinely use the NIXA switch fabric for carrying traffic between their own routers.


In order to address the issue of sustainability in long run, NIXA shall setup minimum amount of fee on peering ISPs for covering the recurring costs of NIXA.

NIXA will be monitored with the required available tools and equipment for providing routine statistics on the performance of EP, which will be available on the NIXA website.

3.Optic Fiber Network

Intercity and international connectivity has improved significantly. The national fiber optic backbone network now connects 20 provinces and Pakistan, Iran, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. This is a major milestone in connecting Afghanistan to international telecommunications networks.

MCIT has plans to connect all the Provinces on the OFC Backbone Networks. Such a Communications Backbone roll-out has to be done in Phases and thus, every year, at least 3 to 5 Provinces are being added to this Network. Accordingly, it is planned to roll out OFC Backbone Network in 05 Provinces in 1390-1392 with a total investment by the World Bank amounting to 27 Million USD. In 1390, 15 Million US Dollars will be required to connect Bamiyan, Daikundi, Chagcharan, Takhar, Faizabad and the Districts enroute with the existing OFC Backbone Network of the Country.

World Bank is likely to support the construction of the third phase of the national fiber optic network. About 2000 km of the planned 3100 km has been completed, mainly around the ring road. Work has also begun on a secondary network that will connect cities in the South East of the country (e.g. Logar, Khost, Paktya). The Government now plans to construct new phases of the network to connect Kabul to Herat directly through the central provinces and to add ‘spurs’ to connect the final few provinces.

1,000 Kms of additional OFC Cable Routes will be laid to connect 05 more Provinces with the existing Backbone Network of the Country. This will give access to both the urban and the rural population of the Country to most modern Telecommunication Services of the World. This Project will also enhance the employment potential for rural population of these Provinces and the Districts/Villages.

Implementation of this Project will be monitored and controlled by the PICU of MCIT through PMO established for the Project.

OFC Backbone Expansion Project (BBEP) of the World Bank has following goals:

  1. Develop the capacity of the ministries and other Gov’t Agencies to communicate with the citizens of the Country through more reliable Digital Phones and through affordable Internet Services provided through these integrated Networks by using OFC Technology.
  2. Improve broadband connectivity across the country, including to the under-served provinces, by having Internet on Broadband OFC Networks.
  3. Reduce the costs associated with the Digital Phone and Internet Services.
  4. Connect the Country’s Provinces and Districts with the neighboring Countries through the most reliable and affordable media.