The recent floods had exposed tall claims of the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited’s (PTCL) as the torrential rains causing flash floods in southern Punjab, parts of Sindh and Baluchistan has exposed corruption worth millions of rupees in the PTCL’s highly publicized network transformation project. The recent incidents of internet outages during the last three days have proved that PTCL project that was aimed to provide high speed internet connectivity has completely been collapsed. In order to cover up its inability, the telecommunication company blamed floods for the mishaps and maintained that floods damaged fibre optic cable in southern Punjab.
In order to provide high speed internet connectivity in specified locations of the country, in 2018, PTCL started its network transformation project. A reliable source on the condition of anonymity told this scribe, “The majority of the transformation budget was used for executive rooms renovation, maintenance and repair of telephone exchange buildings, installations of new air conditions, interior decoration, branding, and the purchase of new furniture for customer service counters, with investments in upgrading the technical infrastructure coming last.
The majority of internet service providers and cellular networks in the country, including Nayatel, Storm Fiber, Cybernet, Ufone, Telenor, and Zong, rely on PTCL’s internet backbone. Twice in three days, fibre optic cable faults have negatively impacted all service providers’ operations for several hours. The outage not only damaged the service providers’ reputation, but also caused them significant financial loss.
Using a backup system in the telecommunications sector in the event of technical problems is a common standard; yet, it is understandable that internet service providers in Pakistan are unable to fund the backup system due to the economic downturn. The service providers are currently being forced to reconsider their connectivity stability strategy as a result of the increasing technical issues with PTCL’s almost decade old dilapidated cable infrastructure. It is important to note that PTCL connectivity solutions are significantly more expensive than other viable choices like Wateen Telecom or Transworld International.
The recent internet outages in the country have sparked yet another controversy, including claims that the company strategically downgraded internet services across the country at once to address the political atmosphere, making it to social media trends within no time to divert attention from the most pressing issue.
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