For offering the newly introduced technology, the first priority goes to national and multinational companies operating in Pakistan, which are categorized as heavy revenue generating subscribers.

Aug 30 - Sep 05, 2004

Pakistan Telecommunication Corporation Limited (PTCL) has added another feather to its cap in the form of newly introduced "Broad Band" facility into its system, which provides fiber optic transmission network, which not only accelerates the speed but also reduces communication distortion to the zero level.

For offering the newly introduced technology, the first priority goes to national and multinational companies operating in Pakistan, which are categorized as heavy revenue generating subscribers.

The high revenue generating subscribers are including Oil Marketing Companies, Karachi Stock Exchange, Banking and the Financial sector, etc.

It is interesting to note that when new digital telephone exchanges had just installed in country a basic demand and requirement of fiber optic network and a strong recommendation was rejected.

Now gradually, the same network would be extended to all of the PTCL subscribers. "The PTCL has taken that decision to provide fiber optic system to commercial and industrial subscribers on the pressure of multinational companies operating in Pakistan" a senior PTCL officer said on the condition of unanimity. He said that this step could have taken years ago as it was just a matter of labor work but the delay seems to be as mysterious.

The fiber optic network when comes to interconnected with major cities than subscribers would have a magic like telephone services another engineer said. He said that on top of priorities are business centers and major business officers of the city.

It is learnt that work for master plan for fiber optic network for Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and other major cities is underway, not only by the PTCL but for other private phone companies also, according to which fiber optic network would be established for subscribers is going to be the ultimate need in Pakistan for a reliable phone service.

Officers said, field was and is still opened for profit running company but there is no positive decision to take full advantages and benefits for government-run Communication Company. He said that there is huge open market with large number of subscribers, there is system, there is labor force in our country and there is world class talent but mysteriously there is no any decision for the development and improvement of the PTCL which is the one of the major revenue generating organization.

The federal minister for communication faced sharp criticism in Karachi Stock Exchange for a mysterious and poor PTCL services and an emphasis on PTCL privatization. However, the minister as usual assured the businessmen and their leaders for improving the services but as usual assurance remained just an assurance. There is also a great demand of extending inter-exchange capacity, which provides batter service for complaint system and inquiry system. The both most important departments remained unattended despite the fact that PTCL now has a world-class telephone exchange system, but that is in the clutches of inefficient and corrupt staff and some officers.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) chairman Major General (R) Shahzada Alam Malik also warned the Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) to improve its faltering services last week. Malik said the PTA would soon publish a report of a survey it conducted throughout the country to review the PTCL performance. He said that the PTA had conducted the survey after receiving complaints about the poor PTCL service. He said that the authority had directed senior PTCL officials to improve in light of the survey report. He said the survey report would be released to the press in September. But senior PTCL officer said in Karachi that the chairman should come Karachi and listen to the serious problems for which major decisions are pending for long. They said that it is very easy to conduct a survey and release but it is difficult to operate in such situation where some major decisions are pending.

However, the PTA planned to start the regularization of Internet Services Providers (ISPs) throughout the country. A summary in this regard has been sent to the ministry. Cell phone tariffs would decrease when the two new companies who received licences would become operational.

PTA had generated Rs 14 billions by issuing wireless local loop (WLL) licences. In fact Indian company had been awarded a WWL license. Frequencies have been sold to private companies after approval from security agencies. PTCL had faced a loss of Rs 48 billion when it reduced line rent. Phone tariff would decrease with the entry of new companies in the fixed phone market.

PTA was focusing on the mobile phone industry because 60 percent of people had no access to the service. The PTA chairman said in Lahore last week that Paktel and Insta Phone would have to sign the same terms and conditions that were given to the new companies when their licences expired in eight months. He said that they had issued a universal tariff for all public call offices and a team was raiding the call offices to check if they were overcharging. But even on the repeated questions from journalists about restructuring a fault management system and some major decisions, which can bring radical change in the revenue, he just replied in words that "We know that, and work is on."