PTCL launches Internet telephony service -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

PTCL launches Internet telephony service

KARACHI- The Pakistan Telecommunications Company Limited (PTCL), on November 16, 2002, launched the Internet telephony service, at a time when the country’s Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are about to move the courts against the ban on the same service offered by them.

The Chairman PTCL inaugurated the service called Voice of Internet Protocol (VoIP). They said that initially the state-owned telecom would only offer in-coming calls under the VoIP, only from the United Sates and the European countries.

However, they claimed that the features of the service would be expanded gradually. “It was an old demand of our customers and in our plan for long and today the dream has come true”, one of the top PTCL official said.

It is pertinent to note that Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA), the telecoms regulator in the country, earlier this year put a stop to Internet telephony by imposing a ban on 17 websites which facilitated calls to North America bypassing the PTCL.

PTCL officials argue that under the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organisation) Act 1996, basic telephone services are the prerogative of the phone utility.

The Act declares that “basic telephone services mean the provision of any telecommunications service, which consists of two-way live voice telephone service in digital form or otherwise over any fixed switched network or between base stations or switches or modes of any public mobile switched network; real-time transmission or reception of facsimile images over a public fixed switched network; international telephony service; and the lease of circuits for the provisions of the services specified.”

The Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan (ISPAK) lodged a strong protest with the authority. But instead of removing the ban, the PTA last month gagged the MSN voice chat channel, which did not only affected the ISPs but also angered the general Internet browsers.

After strong uproar from the PTA called a crucial meeting inviting Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan (ISPAK) and PTCL to discuss the thorny issue of the ban on Internet telephony and voice chat.

At the end of the meeting the authority asked the PTCL to prove within a week that the ban on Internet telephony and voice chat had brought a positive impact on its business otherwise it would be no more.

After passing a week, neither the PTCL submitted any report nor the PTA removed ban on Internet telephony and voice chat. And then on November 11, contrary to its claims it informed the ISPs that that the ban on Internet telephony and voice chat would continue.

The Country’s 112 ISPs – out of which 72 are operational – and the PTA are at loggerheads due to the ban on Internet telephony.

The ISPAK a couple of days back announced that they would move the High Court against banning the Internet telephony by the PTA what they say is a totally illegal act and did not fall within the jurisdictions of the authority.

Source: The News