PTCL mulls abandoning of un-metered internet access
ISLAMABAD, Sept 25: Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd (PTCL), the telecommunications’ converged services carrier provider, plans to start multi-metering for charging internet access, which may significantly increase the cost of internet use.The decision is likely to affect over 4 million internet users, who access internet through dial-up connections.
The dial-up users had been enjoying un-metered internet access through 131 universal access numbers since 1998. The government’s decision for keeping the internet access un-metered was to promote internet use in the country.
PTCL while deciding to abandon un-metered access and move to multi-metering has proposed that the duration of each call should be limited to 15 minutes.
This implies that a user, who previously paid Rs2.10 for accessing internet through a dial-up connection for unlimited duration, would be paying Rs8.40 every hour.
Convener Internet Services Providers Association Mr Wahaj-us-Siraj claimed that the PTCL request for multi-metering was in violation of Section 9 of the Telecom Deregulation Policy, which stipulates that PTCL would continue providing un-metered internet access.
Moreover, he contended, the privatisation document of PTCL also had a built-in clause for continuing un-metered internet access.
Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has received PTCL request for the change in charging framework for internet use, but the regulator is yet to approve it.
PTCL spokesman Mr Ali Gillani while talking to Dawn confirmed that PTCL had moved PTA for multi-metering of internet calls.
He rejected the impression that PTCL request was against the Telecom Deregulation Policy saying had that been the case the regulator (PTA) would have outrightly rejected their request.
It is believed that the decision to move to multi-metering would stifle the already reeling internet industry, which has not witnessed any growth in real terms during the last four years.
A study had recently revealed that home internet users in Pakistan pay the most in the South Asian region for accessing internet.