Big cut in Internet rates next month: Atta -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Big cut in Internet rates next month: Atta

ISLAMABAD- The government will be adding 165 mega bit to the bandwidth beside making “a very big reduction in the Internet cost as of end of May,” Minister for Science and Technology Professor Dr Atta-ur-Rahman said in an interview.

“It has taken a good four to five months of hard negotiations before we are now getting a 155 bit stream. It will be through the submarine cable that is coming to Pakistan from Singapore and will be activated by the end of next month,” he said.

He admitted that Pakistan did not have sufficient bandwidth available. “And now we will be getting 235 mega bit. It is 2/3rd of India whose bandwidth capacity is 325 mega bit. So in terms of bandwidth per person we will be much better,” he said.

“Now we are making a very big reduction by the end of May. In this case we have linked the reduction to quality. We will make certain minimum quality specifications in terms of bandwidth speed so that overselling of lines stops. Otherwise the end-users will not benefit from the reduction, if the rates remain the same,” Professor Atta said.

Talking about the performance of the Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB), the minister said it leaves much to be desired. “We are revamping the whole organisation as it needs to be substantially improved. I am not totally satisfied. The programme of exports of software has to be done on very professional lines. It must have a very professional competent team within the PSEB,” he added.

The government has already started setting up business incubators internationally, said the minister, adding one in Singapore is fully operational while the other one in San Francisco has just been launched during the last few weeks.

“We are going to set up more business incubators in New York and London. Sitting in Pakistan, it is very difficult to promote software exports. We really need to have interfaces abroad with competent people who can introduce our companies and aggressively market Pakistan’s capabilities at an international level,” the minister explained.

He clarified that the PSEB would have no role in policy-making. The ministry in consultation with its international advisory board does it. The board has people like Masood Jabbar in San Francisco (President of Sun Microcomputers), Safi Qureshi, and other Pakistani professionals on its panel.

About the sustainability of IT industry in the country, he said: “We just have to produce far more people than those who migrate abroad to meet the growing demand for Pakistani software experts.”

The minister told that the Pakistanis like Safi Qureshi had set up an operation abroad and had hired the services of seven PhDs. “So people who go abroad and get professional training, can be an extremely valuable tool for linkages with us. We do not see that as a loss at all,” he explained.

Regarding escalating cost and deteriorating quality of Information Technology (IT) education, the minister said the government is setting up National Testing Service (NTC) and National Accreditation Council (NAC).

“The NTC will be looking at individual institutions and will be then awarding recognition to them or otherwise and their list will then be made public. It will hold a nationwide examination of students to check the quality of students coming out from various institutions,” Professor Atta said. “Both these proposals are presently with the Ministry of Law, as they have to go to the cabinet for approval in the form of an ordinance.

Source: The News
Date:4/30/2001