ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) revised the existing regulations for fixed broadband internet speeds enhancing the minimum download data throughput by 16 times and it has been made mandatory that 80pc of the advertised internet speeds have to be available at all times to the users.

The regulations termed as “Fixed Broadband Quality of Service (QoS) Regulations, 2022”, have replaced the existing “Broadband Quality of Service Regulations, 2014”.

Broadband is high-speed internet to homes and businesses using technologies such as T1, cable, DSL and FiOS, but it does not include cellular system which is mobile data.

While “T1” line is a communications transmission service using pair copper wires to transmit and receive data or voice traffic, which is currently used by the PTCL in Pakistan.

Enhances minimum download data throughput by 16 times

The DSL or Digital Subscriber Line is a comparatively advanced technology to transmit digital data (internet) over telephone lines.

Whereas the most modern internet transmission is through the “Fios” - Fiber-Optic Service that delivers state-of-the-art TV, internet, and digital phone to the user.

Under the new regulations the minimum fixed broadband internet speeds for download data throughput has to be 4 megabit per second (Mbps) up from the 256 kilobit per second (kbps) in the previous regulations.

The minimum upload speed should be 2Mbps and all the internet service providers have to ensure that 80pc of the advertised download speeds should be available to the consumers all the time.

The PTA has said that the regulations have been updated keeping in view existing and emerging fixed broadband technologies such as xDSL (Digital Subscriber Line), Cable Broadband (DOCSIS 3.x), Fixed Wireless, Fiber to the Home (FTTH) and GPON, Satellite Broadband, etc.

“The aim is to better gauge the services agreed upon by the service providers with the end users,” PTA has said.

The telecom sector regulator has also announced that the quality of service (QoS) surveys and the QoS being provided to consumers will continue to be conducted by the PTA, along with implementation of the recurring National Broadband Measurement Programme (NBM).

For this purpose, pre-configured devices shall be placed with group of volunteers and line performance shall be measured all the time.

The PTA has also announced that as the technologies continue to advance in fixed broadband networks, stringent thresholds have been set for existing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in the new Regulations.

These includes latency, packet loss, jitter, etc. while, new set of KPIs have been introduced, including Voice over IP (VoIP) services, Web Page Loading Time, and Bandwidth Utilisation.

The regulations have emphasised on implementation of “Net Neutrality”, where the Broadband Service Providers (BSPs) have to treat all internet communications equally and cannot slow or throttle internet speeds in order to delay/block applications, websites, or any other content at the internet.

Under the regulations “Network Service Providers” are bound to transport all internet services on equal basis regardless of their types.

The NSPs are the companies that owns, operates and sells access to internet backbone infrastructure and services to other service providers including the internet service providers (ISPs), who sell internet to businesses and consumers.

Published in Dawn, September 28th, 2022

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