Phone thru Internet can’t be blocked
KARACHI- Although the Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL) is making all-out efforts to put a stop to voice-over Internet protocol, better known as Internet to phone communication, technologically it is almost impossible to do so.
This was disclosed by the president of the Internet Service Providers Association, Ansarul Haque.
He added that of late both the PTCL and the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) had been writing to Internet service providers asking them to ensure content filtering of at least 14 websites through which long-distance telephone calls could be made to Canada and the United States.
He noted that the PTCL and the PTA should make a distinction between basic telephony and data transfer. Although basic telephony was a prerogative of the PTCL being a monopoly, it should have nothing to do with data transfer. In order to shore up his argument, he cited a clause of the US-based Federal Committee on Communications under which voice-over Internet protocol was considered data transfer and not basic telephony.
He added that even Minister for Science and Technology Dr Attaur Rehman had admitted the futility of blocking voice-over Internet protocol.
“Even with the much-dreaded National Access Point – which is equivalent to the films’ censor board – the PTCL and the PTA would not be able to put a complete stop to Internet to phone communication.”
The Ispak president said that PTA chairman Maj-Gen Shahzada Alam Malik had expressed an inclination to check the quality of service of the 62 Internet service providers operating in the city. “Although the motive of the telecoms regulator is noble, it should clearly lay down the parameters under which the survey will be carried out.”
He said contrary to what most people believed, speed was not a proper yardstick of quality of service. “If the PTA wants to carry out a thorough survey of quality of service, it should put a premium on reliability and overall efficiency,” he suggested.
Mr. Haque said that Ispak had requested the PTA to form a committee for the survey of quality of service.
The committee should comprise all stakeholders, including officials of the PTCL, the PTA, the ministry of science and technology, Internet users and representatives of Internet service providers, he added.