ISLAMABAD, Aug 1: Deadlock still exists between the Pakistan Telecommunication Company and the Internet Service Providers and Long Distance and International call centre over the compensation mechanism for the 11-day Internet crisis that had hit the country earlier last month.

Sources told Dawn here on Monday that two meetings between the PTCL and the Ministry of Information Technology officials and ISPs held over the past two weeks has ended inconclusively, as PTCL is yet to accept the amount of compensation demanded by the LDIs and the ISPs.

They said the ISPs and LDIs are of the view that they had suffered losses totalling up to $43 million and have demanded compensation in the form of 40 days of free of cost bandwidth services from PTCL. However, the PTCL authorities have agreed to provide only a 10-day free of cost services to the ISPs and LDIs.

The PTCL is of the view that it had charged nothing additional from the LDIs and ISPs during the 11-day internet crisis which had hit Pakistan after fault appeared in the undersea South East Asia-Middle East-Western Europe-3 (SEA-ME-WE-3) fibre optic cable, the country’s sole Internet link with the outer world.

The PTCL has maintained that it has the right to charge both the LDIs and ISPs for the satellite bandwidth services it had hired as back-up during the Internet crisis.

The company has further supported its stance and is of the view that it was not legally bound to pay even a penny to LDIs and ISPs as both had signed an agreement, according to which they could not claim any compensation for any disruption in the SEA-ME-WE-3 line even in case the fault took even months. The company has told the ISPs and LDIs that the offer of 10-day free of cost services should be considered a blessing in disguise and could be taken back by the company any time.

However, the sources said, ISPs and LDIs are of the view that the bandwidth cost was 25 per cent of their total operating costs. Their other costs including salaries, rental, collocation, marketing and other operating charges. So, if they had to pass on 10 days of additional free of cost services to the users, they should be given 40 days of free services by the PTCL.

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