With some luck the Pakistani Internet user base may get a long overdue and much deserved break. That is, if the recent bandwidth rate cuts proposed by PTA are implemented and that’s where the battle is. Here’s a bit of history of the PTA vs. PTCL bandwidth rates controversy.

In an effort to accelerate the spread of broadband services in Pakistan, PTA cut bandwidth rates significantly in June and asked PTCL to apply the new tariff rates. This decision was based on a policy paper (PDF) by PTA in April – which concluded that lack of competition and high international bandwidth rates are harming consumers and businesses. The drastic reduction in bandwidth rates created a chain of events. Instead of complying with the PTA decision, the Etisalat-run PTCL took the legal course. In August, the Lahore High Court reversed the PTA decision on reduced bandwidth rates.

The chart below (taken from PTA paper referred above) shows the comparison of domestic leased circuit tariffs between India and Pakistan.

BwChart

As reported by the Pakcdma site:

Based on the LHC verdict, the PTA has called the LDIs, ISPs, software companies’ representatives and PTCL for a review meeting on its determination. In its August 7 decision, the LHC gave the regulator 60 days to reach a fresh plan of bandwidth rate cut, which has been long over due for the Pakistani market.

The PTA was also directed to adopt the proper procedure for price determination by asking parties to submit and exchange their respective cases; holding a formal hearing; and issue fresh determination this time avoiding the pitfalls.

Read the PTCL response here. PTCL argued that the tariffs should be based on cost criteria.

Whatever the results may be, at least there is a process and some progress. Let’s hope for the best!

Issuing a detailed determination on bandwidth tariffs and broadband issues, the authority had directed PTCL to reduce its tariffs. The details according to the PAK CDMA site:

As for International Private Leased Circuit (IPLC) tariffs, effective from July 1, 2006, the E1 (2M bps) for ISPs will be $3,000 instead of $3,950 whereas for call centers it would be $2,400 instead of $3,500.

Similarly, for DS3 (45 M bps) ISPs will pay $39,000 instead of $67,150 and call centers will be charged $31,200 instead of $57,150.

The STM 1 (155 M bps) rate will be $84,000 and $67,200 for ISPs and call centers respectively.

From January 1, 2007 the tariffs for Voiced Data Services have been merged and will go down further to $2,400, $28,800 and $67,200 for E1, DS3 & STM1 respectively.

Similarly data & voice services rates of Internet Protocol (IP) had also been reduced significantly. For Data Services IP rates for ISPs and call centers will be reduced in two phases.

From July 1 E1 rates will be $1,400 instead of $2,000, DS3 will be $22,400 instead of $31,348 and STM 1 will be $43,400 instead of $76,000. Tariff will be revised from January 1, 2007 and E1 will come to $1,200, DS 3 to $16,800 and STM 1 to $37,200.

Furthermore IP tariffs for Voice Services for Long Distance and International (LDI) operators have also been revised and reduced by 47 per cent to 49 per cent, which would be effective from July 1.

The authority also reduced the Domestic Private Leased Circuits (DPLC) tariffs for Data Network Operators (DNOP) by 35 per cent. Similarly, DPLC tariffs for voice services have been reduced by 20 per cent to 30 per cent. The site clearance fee for Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) of Rs29,000, being charged by PTA, is waived off with immediate effect.

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