Afghanistan’s government-owned wireline network operator Afghan Telecom yesterday extended a contract with US-owned Globecomm Systems Inc (GSI) covering technical support for international voice and data services. The one-year extension will maintain GSI’s role in providing teleport services for the District Communications Network (DCN) and Government Communications Network (GCN) that the US company established as part of the rebuilding of Afghanistan’s telecoms infrastructure.
In May 2004 the Afghan Ministry of Communications (MoC) awarded a contract to GSI to supply and install equipment to extend voice and data services to all 355 districts via satellite, new local exchanges and last-mile WiLL rollouts. By mid-August 2005 the network – the DCN – was operational in twelve provinces, and is expected to connect all 33 provinces and up to 178 districts by early 2006. The network is designed to provide international connectivity to Iran, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Rolled out in parallel to the DCN, the GCN was officially launched in mid-September 2005, and is aimed at providing voice, internet and video services to all government ministries in Kabul and 28 provincial government headquarters. Elsewhere, GSI won additional contracts in 2004 for rebuilding Kabul’s war-ravaged satellite earth station and installing a new SDH microwave network in the east of the country. The SDH network, funded by the Afghan International Development Trust Fund (ARTF), links Kabul with the eastern provinces, including Jalalabad, Nuristan, Kunar, Laghman, as well as Peshawar in Pakistan.