ISLAMABAD, June 29: Pakistan Telecommunication Company (PTCL) president Junaid I. Khan has said it will take three to four days to completely restore Internet service which is down since Monday after the submarine optic fibre line developed a fault.

He told a press conference on Wednesday that the PTCL had acquired 100 megabyte (MB) space on satellite and another 100 MB space would be acquired on Thursday morning to facilitate Internet users.

The PTCL president said his company would spend Rs30 million for securing the 200MB space on satellites.

He said the Internet service had been affected across the country as the sole sub-marine optic fibre cable providing the international link had developed a fault.

However, he added, a ship with the repair equipment was coming to the Pakistani waters to rectify the cable fault.

He said a back-up cable would be laid at a cost of Rs2.5billion by October to prevent such problem in future.

After seeking government permission, Mr Khan said, an underground link would be established with India to give Pakistan three international routes instead of one.

The two routes would be used in case there was a fault in the route in use.

Reuters adds: “Data connectivity will not be as fast as it normally is but we have provided satellite back-up to ensure that banks and other businesses like airline ticketing can be provided with Internet data facilities as normal as possible,” said Mashkoor Hussain, vice- president of operations at the PTCL.

Telephone links had not been affected, he said.

Mr Hussain said an attempt to repair the faulty cable early on Wednesday had failed.

A repair ship from the company that laid the cable was due to set off from Dubai on Wednesday afternoon and it should reach the site, about 50km off the coast, on Thursday afternoon. Repair work was then expected to take 48 hours, he said.

“The repair work is major, the cable will have to be taken out for the repair,” another PTCL official said.

Mr Hussain said the repairs would not have an impact on neighbouring countries, including India, which were also linked to the faulty cable. Those countries had back-up cables, he said.

Business people in Pakistan said things were a bit better but they were still facing difficulties.

“The situation has slightly improved today but we are still facing a lot of problems. Most of our work is being carried out manually,” said a foreign bank dealer.

Records of bank transactions were not being logged electronically, a local bank dealer said.

“A large backlog has built up and it is increasing all the time. It is a big disaster,” the second dealer said.

Internet Service Providers Association chief V. A. Abdi said the providers normally had total bandwidth of 600MB at their disposal but now they had just 34MB.

Pakistan has about 10 million Internet users, he said.

Meanwhile, Information Technology Minister Awais Leghari told APP that the PTCL had got approval for establishing a fibre optic link with an Indian company, VMSL, and had started laying the cable up to the border with India.

The link, he added, would enable Pakistan to utilize five submarine cables passing near India.



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