Published on November 29th, 2009 | by Babar Bhatti0
Broadband Penetration Target: 1 Million
When compared with cellular phone growth, Broadband has been slow to take off in Pakistan. However the last two years show some progress in terms of growth (a little over 20K subscribers per month), more choices of services in more places and most importantly a significant drop in cost for broadband access (~Rs.1200 per month on average). Another welcome trend is to move towards unlimited broadband.
According to PTA, “broadband subscriber base grew by 146% adding 245,727 subscribers during July 2008 – June 2009, while broadband connection charges for 1Mbps connection dropped below Rs. 1000. There were 413,809 Broadband subscribers in June 2009 as compared to 168,082 in June of 2008.”
At the current rate of broadband growth we can cross the half-million mark by December 2009. We need to get to 1 million much faster.
Daily Times recently wrote about broadband, excerpt below.
The Sustainable Development Policy Institute’s (SDPI) Study Group on Information Technology and Telecommunication in its 56th meeting discussed the problems that hinder broadband growth in Pakistan. Relevant stakeholders participated in the meeting. Wahaj ul Siraj of NayaTel and Zamir Bhatti of Wi-tribe reviewed the existing policy and infrastructure sharing issues.
The meeting was chaired by Dr. Ijaz Shafi Gilani, Chairman Gallup Pakistan.
Since a major portion of the infrastructure is owned by the PTCL and is reluctant to share it with other service providers, therefore, the latter have to built their own infrastructure, which is an immense waste of national resources. Neither the Ministry of IT and Telecom (MoIT) has provided any policy guidelines nor the Pakistan Telecom Authority (PTA) has been able to break PTCL’s monopoly, which is harming other operators.
Although the PTA has constituted broadband stakeholders group to facilitate solution to the problems that hinder rapid expansion of broadband subscribers’ base but unless ministry of IT play an effective role along with the PTA is made stronger and fully autonomous, broadband penetration in Pakistan is like to be slow. Despite the good move by the government to mandate Universal Service Fund (USF) to built infrastructures in unserved areas of Pakistan with huge allocation of funds’ and the USF’s endeavor to play its role, the security situation in these areas of Balochistan is adversely impacting its otherwise useful work. Despite these difficulties, USF plans to achieve 1 percent broadband penetration by 2010. staff report