An open â??Dialogueâ?? meeting was organized by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) on 6th November, 2008 in a local hotel to discuss proliferation issues in the country. The meeting was presided over by Dr.Muhammad Yaseen, Chairman PTA and attended by high level representatives from Ministry of Information Technology, Universal Service Fund, ICT R&D, Pakistan Software Export Board, PTA, Broadband Service Providers, Cellular Mobile Operators, Vendor, Consultants and Academia.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Muhammad Yaseen, gave a bird eye view of the telecom sector and highlighted broadband proliferation issues. He said that during past few years, different segments of telecom sector have shown exponential growth, however, broadband proliferation has been comparatively slow. He said that percentage growth of broadband has been good but subscribers base is very less. He highlighted the market potential for broadband in the country and asked the participants to give their suggestions for enhancing the broadband proliferation in the country.
The participants appreciated PTAâ??s initiative of holding this meeting on an issue of prime importance and expressed their views and made various recommendations. The various issues which were discussed in the meeting include. Facilitation by Government and PTA, Infrastructure related problems and difficulties, taxation by the government, Development of contents, Creating enabling environment and Utilization of USF for broadband proliferation etc.
The participants were briefed about the projects undertaken by the USF for broadband. This include laying of Optic Fiber cable throughout the country and a pilot project started in Faisalabad connecting schools, libraries and dispensaries etc. Some of the participants suggested that the government should give incentive to ICT industry and play its role to create enabling environment taking on board all relevant ministries and departments. The participants also suggested that focus should be given to rural areas where there is a great need of e-education and e-government and e-health etc. It was also pointed out that the â??accessâ? is the real impediment for broadband proliferation, therefore, wireless technology is the best option for its development. In this regard, the availability of more spectrum was also highlighted. It was suggested in the meeting that a study be carried out to assess the impact of present taxation on growth of telecom and ICT sectors. Basing on the results of this study, a case may be taken up accordingly by MOIT with the relevant ministry for eliminating/reducing the taxes.
The participants unanimously decided that a â??Broadband Stakeholders Groupâ? be formed to study various aspects of the broadband and suggest measures to enhance broadband proliferation in the country. This was also decided that PTA should lead this group. It was also highlighted in the meeting that customer awareness campaign be also launched to highlight the benefits of broadband. At the end Dr.Muhammad Yaseen, Chairman PTA thanked all the participants for participating in the meeting and giving their valuable input for the development of broadband.
Director (Media & Communications)