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Published on June 18th, 2009 | by Babar Bhatti


ISPs Oppose PTA Decision On VOIP

During the many years of telecom industry’s growth, PTA has never been able to clearly define a reasonable VOIP policy. Recently PTA asked ISPs to detect and monitor traffic for voice over internet protocol and report any illegal usage. The Internet Services Providers of Pakistan (ISPAK) has taken a position against PTA directives asking them to set up expensive systems for the detection and monitoring of illegal voices traffic available unlimited on internet. Daily Times reports:

ISPAK Convener Wahaj us Siraj said PTA has invested a huge amount of operators’ contribution for installation of such a facility and this matter has to be tackled by PTA itself instead of passing on additional burden on ISPs. He said the ISPs could install the VoIP monitoring and mitigating facility if PTA provides funding for such a facility as the industry is already in debt due to selling below the costs and anti competitive practices. There are more than 50 ISPs operating across the country. As per policy, they contributed 0.5 percent of their revenue to Universal Service Fund (USF); 0.1 percent on the account of Research and Development and hundreds of thousands of fee charges for renewal of licences. ISPs cannot take any action against any customer doing illegal VoIP as they are lacking statutory powers to do so, he said and added that if PTA informs of illegal activity done by any customer to the concerned ISP, the ISPs’ action can only be limited to locking that customer’s account and providing customer details to PTA.

ISPs also termed PTA’s action of blocking the IP addresses on internet gateways without any prior notification and evidence as insufficient. They said they had been suffering badly, which has been brought to the notice many times in recent past to the regulator.

PTA has its automated blocking of IP addresses that carry illegal voice traffic that is termination and/or origination of voice packets in a bid to check grey traffic flowing into the country

On the other hand, Chairman PTA Dr Muhammad Yaseen told Daily Times that setting up of VoIP system is not a rocket science that could not be done by ISPs without the assistance of authority.

They only need to install software on their network to block illegal traffic of voices, which they are reluctant to do, he said adding that there are scores of culprits violating authority’s law under the very nose of ISPs. Dr Yaseen added that the authority has warned all the ISPs again and it has decided to conduct massive operation against all the illegal traffic users as per prescribed laws. He further said the ISPs should cooperate with the authority to stop illegal practices instead of supporting users’ violating watchdog’s laws.

PTA announced publicly that all (registered) call centres should provide their IP addresses to PSEB to make sure that their voice traffic is not blocked. Since the inception of technical facility in May 2008 at the PTA, the IP addresses found to be involved in illegal activities were being blocked manually and in the process, over 14 million minutes (worth around Rs 100 million) have been saved on monthly basis. Now these would be automatically blocked if any IP, not authorised to carry voice is found doing so. Under the current policy, only LDIs and international call centres are authorised to carry voice across national boundaries.

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12 Responses to ISPs Oppose PTA Decision On VOIP

  1. SomeOne says:

    guyes its not the president he alone can’t be that sharp its the 2nd & 3rd-layer of administration.

  2. Abdullah says:

    Perhaps Our president didnt get the commission on it.

  3. Sher says:

    Another way for such creeps to make money under the table. VPN can be used to generate termination?

  4. M.Jamil Afzal says:

    Nice discussion. very hard for me to accept these kind of policies adopted by PTA. The is nonsense policy in pakistan. Because in whole world communication is going to shift on voip. Belgium almost shifted and in rest europe shifting rapidly.

  5. abdussamad says:

    @striker: You misunderstood me. I never gave an opinion on whether this was a right step or not. I merely stated what I had observed.

  6. Babar Bhatti says:

    Good points Ahmed. The ordinary users have already suffered because of braintel service vs pta, increase of long distance rates etc.

  7. Ahmed says:

    Grey Telephoney can never been stopped by PTA. PTA is doing this after Etissalat in Pakistan, Etissalat notorious in UAE for blocking VOIP. I have reason claiming that PTA can never stop Grey Telephony in Pakistan.

    1- Professionals can use VPN to move their VOIP traffic & ISPs will not be able to sniff.

    2- Satellite Internet Service, Where traffic is not going through local ISPs, legal or illegal there are providers who provide both uplink & downlink for Pakistan.

    2- If VOIP SIP Protocol is blocked by blocking standard or non-standard ports like 5060, 5061, 8891 respectiveley, even then Grey Telephony operators can do it by having offshore servers operating on non-standard ports.

    3- There are many Gateway solutions available & Skype-PSTN , SIP-PSTN are just two of them. Grey telephony operators either use that or will go for that.

    Moral of the story, end user will suffer, not Grey Telephony operators.

  8. Pingback: ISPs Oppose PTA Decision On VOIP | Tea Break

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  10. kashif saleem says:

    I totally agree, as PTA is the most important part of our telecom industry and they still failed to delivered any clear policy on VOIP, they published the IP telephony paper last year in which they mentioned about non-geographic numbering series which will be used for IP telephony services but still PTA not defined any clear road map.

  11. Striker says:

    Blaa Blaaa Blaaaaaaaa that’s means everything should be block near future it;s called Security?

  12. abdussamad says:

    A few months back our interior minister rahman malik was hosting a news conference about the mumbai bomb attacks. In it he described how the suspects had used “sky pee” to communicate. Its amazing how no one picked it up. It definitely did not get on the internet like the many stories you see on tech sites speculating about how such and such a tech could be used by terrorists.

    Rahman Malik was of course refering to skype the popular voip app originally from estonia and now owned by american concern ebay. I think this is one reason why PTA is now moving to block VOIP traffic.

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