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Provision of internet services: PTA chalks out guidelines for FLL and CVAS licensees

By Mehtab Haider
January 30, 2023

ISLAMABAD: In order to curb hundreds of thousands of illegal internet service users in big cities of the country, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has chalked out guidelines for Fixed Local Loop (FLL) and Class Value Added Services (CVAS) licenses to revise their existing agreements within three months period.

If the agreements were not revised then stern action will be taken against the illegal rampant usage of internet service providers. According to official directives issued by PTA for enforcement purpose for all regions stating that PTA has been established under the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-Organisation) Act 1996 (the “Act”), and has mandate to regulate the establishment, operation and maintenance of telecommunication systems and provision of telecommunication services in Pakistan.

Under Section 21 (j) of the Act, Authority may grant license either to a person, class of persons, company or corporation with “Restrictions or limitations on transfer or assignment of the license”.

During the nationwide surveys and complaints received from various sources, PTA has noticed that unlicensed third parties are providing illegal internet services, consequently, harming the business of licensees. However, in most cases, these unlicensed parties try to produce various agreements with licensees to cover up the illegal business.

In order to eradicate this deep-rooted mushroom growth of illegal provision of internet services, PTA has chalked out guidelines for FLL and CVAS licensees for provision of internet services through agreements.

All FLL and CVAS licensees are required to revise their existing agreements and sign new agreements as per following conditions: Contracted party has to use company name of contracting party (licensee) at point of sales and for promotions etc.

Invoice shall be generated by the licensee. All users to be shown on the service load of the licensee and no user will be removed from licensee record merely on the basis that the said user is being served through a contracted party. Contracted party shall not deploy its own infrastructure or use infrastructure of cable TV operator.

Licensees to notify PTA all contracts as following: -

(i) Contracts within a region Regional office PTA

(ii) Contracts covering multiple regions - Enforcement Division PTA (HQ)

All licensed operators shall be responsible for reporting the revenue on yearly basis to PTA generated through each contracted party.

A three-month grace period is being given to all FLL and CVAS licensees for correction of anomalies in contracts. After the expiry of said period, PTA will stark nationwide survey and enforcement action will be taken on any breach of above guidelines. However, grace period would not stop PTA to initiate action under Section 31 of the Act, the PTA’s directive concluded.