A man explores social media on a computer at an internet club in Islamabad, Pakistan, August 11, 2016. — Reuters

Pakistan IT sector to suffer $3-4m per day loss due to broadband blockade

by Pakistan News
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A man explores social media on a computer at an internet club in Islamabad, Pakistan, August 11, 2016. — Reuters
  • [email protected] claims IT industry has come to a standstill.
  • Demands immediate resumption of internet services.
  • Govt has shut down mobile broadband service across the country.

LAHORE: The suspension of mobile data services — a move that has also disrupted personal lives — is expected to cause a $3-4 million loss to IT exports per day, The News reported on Thursday quoting industry experts.

Pakistan Software Houses Association ([email protected]) has urged the government to restore the mobile broadband services, which were currently suspended on account of political chaos since Tuesday.

The government has shut down the mobile broadband service of 3G/4G across the country after the law-and-order situation erupted as a result of a reaction from the PTI activist to the arrest of the party’s Chairman Imran Khan.

Besides, the government has also blocked major social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook, while YouTube services are slower to control the spread of disinformation and panic among the masses due to the spread of “unwanted information”.

[email protected] Chairman Muhammad Zohaib Khan told The News that the blocking of mobile broadband services across the country could cost around $3-4 million in export loss per day.

“Most of the IT professionals are working from home today due to the precarious law and order situation in the entire country. They may have to continue work from home for a few days to come in the backdrop of political uncertainty,” he mentioned.

Zohaib claimed that the IT industry had come to a standstill since Tuesday evening. 

“Internet is our lifeline; our office, our communications infrastructure and IT industry can’t operate without it,” he added.

He maintained that IT and ITeS services were already under pressure due to stagnation and experiencing a probable decline in the exports of IT services due to poor governmental policies. In such a situation, a sudden blockade of broadband services due to the political turmoil has completely stopped the IT industry’s operations.

[email protected] demanded the immediate resumption of internet services to the IT industry. The quality of the internet service in the country has already been declining, especially the data services. 

He explained that no international buyer or importer would take this excuse that suppliers need a few days’ leverage due to the unavailability of internet.

“Moreover, it will put a question mark on the credibility and goodwill achieved through timely delivery which is key in the IT export markets. It is impossible to regain a client or order once it’s gone,” he added.

Zohaib requested Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to intervene directly as he did at the time of the Wikipedia blockage and advice Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) to resume internet services without any further delay.

He also asked for the support of the Ministry of IT and Telecom, Pakistan Software Export Board (PSEB) and Tech Destination Pakistan administrations to request the premier to issue categorical instructions.

An official said that people usually purchase mobile service bundles, including data bundles, and payment of these bundles is made in advance. 

So technically, closing of it for a day or two may not impact revenue very much.

However, the shutting down of broadband services has definitely impacted individuals who depend on digital apps for commute or ordering/delivering food and other products. 

Furthermore, a telecom official said that though losses were incurred, it was not possible to calculate at this stage.

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