Tajikistan announced plans Friday to link with China’s telecommunications network in order to improve the mountainous, landlocked country’s internet access, as Beijing’s influence in Central Asia grows.
Tajikistan has one of the slowest internet services in the world despite improvements in recent years, with all traffic going through a centre controlled by a government monopoly.
The project will be carried out alongside the construction of a highway linking Dushanbe, the country’s capital in the west, with a town on its border with China, according to state news agency Khovar.
Khovar said the project will create “additional high-speed international fiberoptic communication lines” to connect to global internet networks and “eliminate the communication isolation of the republic.”
Only 22 percent of Tajiks used the internet in 2017 as prices for the service were too high for the poorest population of the former Soviet Union’s Central Asian republics, according to the most recent World Bank figures.
Internet activity is also tightly controlled by the state, with Reporters Without Borders saying the main news sites and social media platforms are almost permanently blocked.
China also has a vast online censorship apparatus that blocks Western news and social media platforms.
Source : Macaubussines