KARACHI: Broadband services of Pakistan Telecommunication Limited (PTCL) – which serves 80 per cent of the broadband users in Pakistan – are affected as there is a major breakdown in the India-Middle East-Western Europe (IMEWE) submarine cable, which has impacted the whole region of South Asia.
The IMEWE is an ultra-high capacity fiber optic cable system which links India and Europe via Middle East. Their three fiber pair system with total length of approximately 12,091 kilometres has nine terminal stations of nine telecom carriers from eight countries, including Pakistan.
The cable fault has occurred somewhere between UAE and Karachi. The highest number of broadband users affected by this submarine cable fault belongs to the PTCL. According to the figures from June 2014, Pakistan has 3.79 million broadband users out of which 80% are the PTCL customers – a fact which tells about the magnitude of people affected by this major breakdown.
According to the PTCL Corporate Communication General Manager Imran Janjua, maintenance activity by the IMEWE consortium on the undersea cable is currently in progress.
“The PTCL has ensured adequate bandwidth so its customers are not affected due to this disruption,” he said, adding that repair vessel had arrived and repair work was being done, which will take a week to be completed.
On the other hand, the PTCL customers have been complaining about the slow browsing. One broadband customer, Daniyal, told The Express Tribune that the network has been down for the last two days.
According to Salman Mazhar from Wateen Telecom, the fault in the cable occurred on December 28.
“Pakistan has a total of 360 gigabyte per second (Gbps) bandwidth, out of which only 250Gbps is available right now for all ISPs of Pakistan and distributed through Pakistan International Exchange and Transworld,” he said.
Internet Service Provider Association of Pakistan (ISPAK) founder member Wahaj us Siraj also confirmed to The Express Tribune that one of the four submarine cables have been affected`.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 31st, 2015.