Egypt inaugurates two factories set to produce fiber optic cables to meet local demand and export abroad. The adoption of the Digital Transformation Strategy by the Egyptian government has led to quick developments in the technological sector, a move that President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi has encouraged.
In line with this strategy, 16 cities in Egypt are set to be connected via fiber optic cables, which provide the highest speed of data transmission.
The move towards the production and export of fiber optic cables comes as part of the government’s smart cities move and President Sisi’s “Egypt Produces Technology” initiative.
The Egyptian government, represented by the Ministry of Communications, inaugurated on Tuesday the first phase of the factories that will produce the fiber optic cables. In cooperation with the Chinese, the factories are set to meet local demand and export abroad.
Although it is the second Egyptian product to be manufactured in the local market since the announcement of the presidential initiative – the first being Sico, the first Egyptian smart phone – the Egyptian market has many success stories. Most prominently, the Beni Suef factory for Samsung Electronics Egypt; the factory manufactures screens and exports them to many countries in the region.
These smart cities will be built with advanced technological infrastructure based on fiber optical cables, which offer high speeds in the transmission of digital data and information from 100 to 200 megabits per second, depending on the strength of the technological structure.
The investment in Badr City, High Technoville Optic, will span over a period of three years and is worth some $30 million. In cooperation between Egypt’s Heitkenoffel and China's Hang Tung, it is expected to have a local manufacturing rate of 80 percent during this period.
The factory aims to manufacture the "Core" or mold, a thin ultra-clear glass transporting light, which is one of the most important components of fiber optical cables. Only a limited number of factories in the world produce this material, meaning that Egypt is set to penetrate a very important market that enjoys very high demand.
The factory will also manufacture Micro-trenching cables, a new technology that can be implemented without digging up the roads via a technique called blowing fiber. These cables, which save 30 percent in time and money, require only 10 centimetres below the surface of the ground.
Over the past four years, Telecom Egypt has been working on replacing copper wires in all Egyptian governorates with fiber optic wires. As of June 2017, the company had replaced 40 percent of the wires. It aims to extend fibre optic cables in new cities, including the New Administrative Capital.
According to an international research, fiber cables have many great benefits that make them more practical, effective and efficient compared with copper wires.
The comparison between fibre cables and copper wires comes down to one key point: speed. The speed of the photons in fiber optic cables is much higher than that of the electrons in the copper wires. Fiber optic cables are only 31 percent slower than the speed of light!
Second, fiber cables can carry signals much farther than copper wires, which are typically limited to a distance of 328 feet. According to Tripp.Lite, a leading technological research website, “some 10 gigabytes per second single mode fibre cables can carry signals almost 25 miles.” It all comes down, however, to the type of cable, the wavelength and the network.
Third, fibre cables are impermeable to electromagnetic interference. Copper wires can sometimes produce electromagnetic currents, if they are not properly installed or are not kept up properly. This often leads to interference between different wires, leading to bigger issues and mayhem. Once this interference occurs, it is very difficult and time-consuming to sort out the wires again. Fiber optic cables do not face this issue due to the fact that, unlike copper cables, they do not conduct electricity.
Fourth, according to Beyond Tech, copper wires can catch on fire, fiber optic cables cannot. This benefit can be attributed to the fact that they do not produce electromagnetic interference, and are therefore not a fire hazard. This is especially beneficial in Egypt’s case due to the weather conditions in Egypt, which typically agitate wires and the fact that these wires may be in remote areas makes them difficult to reach quickly.
Fifth, fiber optic technology would cost Egypt less as they do not break as easily as copper cables. Despite being made of glass, fibre optic cables are less prone to damage than copper wires. This means that Egyptian authorities have to worry less about their up-keeping and replacement; ultimately, they will cost the country less and offer faster, cleaner service.