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‘Internet volume to increase significantly in next few years’

ISLAMABAD: With the increase in Internet users from 1.5 million to 36 million in the last four years, Internet service providers (ISP) are taking measures to ensure that the Internet supply will not be disrupted in the future.

The number of submarine fibre optic cables will also increase, and the volume of Internet – seven terabits just two weeks ago – will increase to around 400 terabits within the next few years.

Every few months, Internet users face a partial or complete blockage of Internet services. Damage to fibre optic cables can also disrupt cellular service.

IT and telecom consultant Salman Ansari explained to Dawn that Pakistan currently receives Internet service from more than three fibre optic submarine cables, but more ISPs are likely to enter the market to meet the increasing demand leading to high speed service at lower prices.

“Most of the ISPs in Pakistan have been receiving broadband from two or three cables, but in the future there will be more options so each service provider will receive broadband from many companies. Due to this, they will not suffer if the fibre optic cables belonging to one company are damaged,” he said.

Mr Ansari added that Pakistan was getting seven terabits of Internet data two weeks ago. Since then, a company called Transworld had laid a fibre optic cable that has increased capacity to 20 terabits.

“Another company, Multinet, has been laying cables from Oman called the ‘silk route’, which will make another 40 terabits of data available. PTCL is also working on a 40 terabit cable, so by next year 80 terabits of Internet data will be available.”

He said China will also lay a fibre optic cable along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, and other companies will enter Pakistan, leading to 400 terabits of Internet in a few years.

The sharp increase in Internet users has been attributed to smartphones, since all smartphone users are Internet users.

According to Nighat Dad, the head of the Digital Rights Foundation, whenever inland or submarine fibre cables are damaged her organisation receives a number of complaints.

“Those who cannot convey the message over the Internet reach out to us over the phone, and others contact us through social media. From time to time I receive complaints about the partial or complete disruption of Internet services,” she said.

“Currently I have been receiving complaints about Internet service suspended in Fata for over 190 days because of security reasons.”

Mr Ansari said that encrypted communications, such as through the messaging application WhatsApp, cannot be tapped by intelligence agencies, although they can receive information about calls being made between two individuals.

“As agencies cannot get encrypted information, they prefer to block Internet services to prevent communication between some people,” he said.

courtesy : dawn news

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