Bandwidth rate cut decision -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Bandwidth rate cut decision

ISLAMABAD, July 31 2006: The legal battle between the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has intensified after six key private sector players jumping into the row favouring drastic reduction of bandwidth prices. As the hearing of the case begins before the Lahore High Court, Rawalpindi bench today (July 31), the counsels of the Cybernet, World Online, Micronet Broadband, Dancom, Buraq Telecom and WorldCall would also argue in favour of the PTA determination.

The private sector operators from all over the country seek dismissal of the PTCL appeal against the PTA decision and order the company to make them respondent in the appeal besides directing the telecom giant of bearing all costs of litigation. In the previous hearing, held on June 28, the PTCL demanded immediate suspension of the PTA bandwidth rate cut decision. The LHC (Rawalpindi bench) did not accept the PTCL plea while the PTA lawyer argued that the remaining industry stakeholders who participated in the industry forum were not made a party to the appeal as they are directly affected by the outcome of the proceedings.

The authority then submitted before the court that the PTCL should also make the other players in the industry party in the appeal. The Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL) pleaded in its appeal before the LHC that the PTA has violated its own act by not protecting its rights as the bandwidth cut announced by the regulator reduces its tariff “to a level which does not provide a reasonable return on investment.”

On June 23, the PTA had announced “substantial reduction in different slabs of international bandwidth tariffs” in a bid to accelerate the spread of broadband services in the country. The authority ordered the PTCL to apply the new tariff rates by June 30. The telecom giant argued, “The authority was not entitled to determine tariffs on the basis of the international benchmarks it has selected.” The PTCL believes that PTA is violative of its primary obligation to set tariffs which are cost-based. It also pleaded in its appeal before the court that the authority “has not published the criteria mandatorily required for the establishment of the tariff although it is statutorily bound to do so regularly every three months before adopting it.” The telecom company noted that the discrepancy of not announcing the criteria put the decision of bandwidth cut into question and “suffers from a fundamental legal infirmity”.
Source: The News