Internet is considered a lifeline for people all over the world. According to recent statistics, internet Industry is becoming heavily populated with more and more users in Pakistan, whether it is through a mobile phone or any other means.

Cellular companies are now transforming their businesses more towards becoming a digital hub instead of just focusing on basic telecommunication services. Whether you want to get your order delivered or seek emergency support services or even stream a movie or your favorite TV series on Netflix or Youtube, the internet is the core behind each and every digitally-driven aspect of modern communications.

Where the internet is now the first choice of communication for a majority of citizens, it can also have some security issues that need to be addressed. The bad news is, there are TV cable operators who can actually provide internet services in a way which should worry any internet user.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the governing body of telecommunications in Pakistan highlighted this issue several times. Additionally, this issue was identified as a serious concern in Karachi where K-Electric recently pointed out the illegal actions of TV cable operators who were providing hazardous wiring for provision of internet through such cables without permission of any regulatory body which resulted in the deaths of citizens, as was reported recently.

This creation of an illegal parallel economy in the internet provisioning stratosphere has not only led to a drastic reduction in the number of employees maintained by each telecom company (as a cost-cutting effort). This is also acting as a cancer for an industry that can flourish otherwise if this parallel-running grey traffic can be controlled.

Such bad practices are not being ignored by international investors, who have identified such illegal provisioning of services as parasitic behaviors that do not facilitate foreign investment in Pakistan.

It is pertinent to mention here that the illegal Video on Demand services being provided by these TV cable operators are making pirated media available to the public in complete contravention of the laws of Pakistan and international conventions related to copyrights. Consequently, the DTH industry has also failed to launch effectively in the country.

Where each operators’ services are monitored by PTA to ensure quality provisioning of services as well as security for a user’s privacy, these TV cable operators do not provide any such protection to the citizens of Pakistan, risking the personal information of millions. Surprisingly, so far no concerns have been raised on the unlawful competition faced by bonafide licensed operators, whose business is dwindling due to the unlawful actions of these TV cable operators.

Unfortunately, these illegal TV cable operators don’t deposit the appropriate taxes to the national exchequer either, which is hurting the national economy to a greater extent. This illegal parallel economy is further resulting in mafia-minded actions on the ground against legitimate telecom service providers and in keeping falsified books of accounts, thereby affecting the law and order situation in each city.

It is only with the collaborative approach of each regulator that this illegal parallel economy can be dismantled, where not only the TV cable operator’s licenses are brought under scrutiny but further strict legal actions are taken against the violators in conformity with the prevalent law which provides the way forward.

About the Guest Author

The writer has been working in the Telecom Industry of Pakistan for the last seven years and is proficient in matters related to the economic conditions prevalent that are preventing harmonious growth and effective provisioning of services to the citizens of Pakistan.

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