ISPs Asked to Detect and Block Voice over Their Networks

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority has asked all Internet Service Providers to ensure that their bandwidth is not used for voice or VoIP for any other un-authorized purpose, told us a high level official at PTA.

Moreover, ISPs were directed to take strict action against the customers involved in such illegal acts – and such instances should be reported to PTA as well, official added.

PTA in its directive said that all ISPs must put system in place to monitor the use of voice over their networks.
Authority warned Internet Service Providers that PTA will take severe action against the operator and customer both, in case of any violation found.

Tech reporter with over 10 years of experience, founder of ProPakistani.PK


  • shamsulhaq

    Means we can’t use skype now ??? !!!

  • MOhsin KaHn ([email protected])

    It Means that now i can not … ;-)

  • Muhammad Anees

    Dear Aamit Attaa,

    Please confirm if you have any written document received from PTA on said issue.

    • ISPs gonna receive directives in a day or two at most.

  • Zeerak Ali

    If true it would be another step in the backward direction by the technologically incompetent Government ministers and advisors!!!

  • Wi Tribe

    Wi tribe launching free trial for 7 days , enjoy in lahore , khi , isl

  • Muhammad Abbas

    damn, this sucks.
    PTA has been sitting on its a## doing nothing good. now they’re blocking VoIP :/
    no skype would suck.

  • Shahida Saleem

    I’d appreaciate it if you coudl kindly email any written communication from PTA on this. If this is true, we will formally issue a press relase against any such action.

    Regards,
    Shahida Saleem
    Chairperson
    Standing Committee on IT & T
    FPCCI

    • Ali Sultan

      Can’t you arrange a protest against it in front of PTA Building and PTCL Headquarters? Coz PTA felt doing all this after Etissalat in Pakistan.

      Call charges to India are as low as .05 Cents (yes 0.05 US Dollar Cents) while it is NOT less than 6 Cents for Pakistan by VOIP providers.

  • Nasir

    We do not any enemy of ours to Bomb us back to Stone Age. Our govt. and its agencies are doing this job very nicely.

  • Abdul Basit

    PTA => Prevent Telecommunication Access

  • Khan

    I suppose this will block all the voice chats also through various messengers.

  • Khalid Ahmed

    I wish to bring hell out of m*ron chairing PTA, this jacka** is doing all those practices that Etissalat is doing in Dubai. I am surprised how can we accept this, time to block gates of PTA and don’t let these jugglers get into the building where they don’t deserve to sit. VOIP is NOT blocked even in Saudia, Qatar & these D***heads are pushing us to stone age where the future is telecom freedom.

    Where is that system PTA was claiming it has installed in ISPs to monitor illegal VOIP traffic? That was just to waste million of people’s money?

  • Ali

    Aamir,

    Is there any written communication from PTA on this? I don’t think its true.

    Ali

  • Nasir

    I am not sure about written communication, but some ISP’s are blocking VoIP specially SIP, and when asked, they say that it is due to PTA directive. Also the in-famous PIE (PTCL Internet Gateway) blocks IP’s who use VoIP.

  • Nasir

    All services that the Internet provide should be allowed including VoIP, Video etc. After all the users pays for the bandwidth to the telcos.

    We should gather support to a petition or something to force PTA to remove this types of restrictions once and for all.

  • Khan

    Some 25 years ago fax machines were introduced & PTA (then PT&T) declared these as illegal being detrimental to the business of Postal Service. Then a fee of Rs. 300 was levied for using fax on PTT lines. Inspectors were sent to premises to check if any fax is being used or not. We are lucky that PTA is at least letting us enjoy our Emails.
    Brain Telecom was providing local Lahore telephone numbers to people abroad via VoIP. Skype and many other service providers are doing the same. PTA banned this service of Brain Telecom also. History of our Telecom Bureaucracy.

  • Here is the response to PTA from Mr. Wahaj convenor of ISPAK and CEO of Nayatel (Micronet Islamabad). In the light of this letter written by him I will appreciate if a formal press release issued by Ms. Shahida Saleem
    Chairperson Standing Committee on IT & T FPCCI as per her discussion above.

    -Kamran Mahmood
    ———————————————————–
    Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan

    (ISPAK)

    No. 2(3)/2007-ISPAK

    15 June 2009

    Mr. Kamran Ali

    Director General

    (Law & Regulations)

    Pakistan Telecommunication Authority

    Islamabad

    Subject Voice over bandwidth of ISPs

    Dear Sir,

    With reference to your letter No. 14-1/L&R/PTA/771 dated 4 June 2009 to all ISPs, we’d like to submit as under:

    ISPs have no mechanism to detect VoIP on customer’s circuits. PTA has invested a huge amount of operators contribution for installation of such a facility and this matter has therefore to be tackled by PTA itself.

    ISPs can install the VoIP monitoring and mitigating facility if PTA provides funding for such a facility as the industry is already in debt due to selling below the costs and anti competitive practices of the incumbent, i.e., PTCL. These practices have so far gone unchecked by the regulator due to non-regulation of broadband Internet tariffs.

    ISPs cannot take any action against any customer doing illegal VoIP as they don’t have statutory powers to do so. If PTA informs of illegal activity done by any customer to the concerned ISP, the ISPs’ action can only be limited to locking of that customer’s account and providing customer details PTA.

    Due to PTA’s indiscriminatory blocking the IP addresses on Internet gateways without any notification and evidence, ISPs have been greatly suffering and that has been brought to the notice of PTA many times in recent past.

    PTA needs to clarify that if a customer of an ISP is supposedly involved in illegal VoIP, how ISP can be held responsible for such matter?

    2. In view of above, we’d request you to kindly withdraw the above mentioned letter.

    With kind regards.

    Yours truly,

    Wahaj us Siraj

    Convener

    c.c. Mr. Naguib ullah Malik, Secretary, Ministry of IT, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad.

    Chairman PTA, Islamabad

    Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad Bhatti, Member Telecom, Ministry of IT, Islamabad

  • Ahmed

    There should be an active forum for the protection of rights of Telecom users in Pakistan to nail PTA, which is not protecting but actually protecting PTCL helping it to mint as much money as possible forcing overseas Paksitanis to pay to VOIP providers to call Pakistan mostly using Grey telephony routes.

    You can ask your relatives abroad to get USA numbers & use it on VOIP phones/adaptors & make calls from Pakistan to those USA numbers, don’t pay PTCL for call termination charges.

  • Kamran Mahmood

    In response to my earlier comment here on this post the recent development is:
    ________________________________
    From: Wahaj us
    Siraj/MGMT [mailto:[email protected]]

    Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 11:43
    AM

    Subject: RE: PTA’s letter to ISPs

    Dear all,

    We had a good meeting with Secretary MOIT last Thursday.
    He seems a positive person and committed in the meeting to resolve our issues
    except for local loop sharing charges. He said that he’d study this (Rs.
    150 issue) before making a commitment. On other issues, he said he was
    committed for their resolution. He asked for an official representation, which
    we’ve sent today.

    I suggest to highlight this in the media as well to keep a
    pressure on PTA.

    Kind regards…Wahaj

    Internet
    Service Providers Association of Pakistan
    (ISPAK)

    No. 2(3)/2007-ISPAK

    27 June 2009

    Mr. Naguib ullah Malik
    Secretary
    Ministry of IT
    Government of Pakistan
    Islamabad

    Subject: Industry Representation to Resolve Serious Issues

    Dear Sir,

    With reference to our meeting held on 25 June 2009, we’d like to submit
    this official representation seeking your kind intervention to resolve the
    issues being faced by the Internet industry:
    1.
    Indiscriminate blocking of IP addresses by
    PTA without any intimation and evidence and subsequent threats to ISPs:

    PTA’s “facility for detecting and blocking illegal
    VOIP” traffic is causing serious bottlenecks to ISPs. The IP addresses of
    ISPs, similar to phone numbers in case of telephony network, randomly and
    indiscriminatory get blocked by PTA without any notice. Many of the blocked IP
    addresses were not being used for any kind of voice traffic. Such incidences
    have been brought to PTA’s notice many times but no action has been
    forthcoming. On the contrary, GSM or PSTN numbers which are the actual source
    of grey traffic termination, never get blocked. Even if they do get blocked by
    PTA in some cases, genuine GSM numbers don’t get blocked. But genuine IP
    addresses do get blocked as happened many times throughout the country
    resulting in total Internet blockade for the customers. To make the situation
    worse, PTA has been issuing threats to ISPs for legal action in not curbing
    VOIP grey traffic despite the fact that industry has been cooperating fully
    with PTA in getting the actual culprits apprehended. ISPs have no mechanism to
    detect VoIP on customer’s circuits. PTA has invested a huge amount of
    operators contribution for installation of such a facility and the matter has
    therefore to be tackled by PTA itself. PTA has also not clarified that if a
    customer of an ISP is supposedly involved in illegal VoIP, under which
    regulation or terms and condition of license, ISP can be held responsible for
    such matter.

    2.
    IP Bandwidth provision to Call Centers by
    ISPs/data operators and local loop operators – PTA’s wrong
    interpretations

    Call centers have been provided special dispensation by MOIT and not
    regulated by PTA. MOIT has approved a policy for call centers to acquire a
    registration from PSEB and use Internet bandwidth for voice traffic
    (origination and termination) within their closed premises (without involving
    interconnection with PSTN/GSM/WLL). PTA is now creating hurdles for call center
    industry by not allowing them to procure bandwidth from ISPs, data network
    operators and DSL operators. Even for local loop operators, PTA is not allowing
    call centers to operate on bandwidth from TWA, the sole alternate IP backbone
    provider. If call centers are allowed to use Internet bandwidth at the rates
    prescribed for ISPs, DSL operators should also be allowed to provide bandwidth
    to call centers regardless whether they’re using voice services in close
    group or not. Similarly, there should not be any restriction on LLOs or TWA to
    provide this bandwidth. PTA by doing so, is depriving the call centers to
    benefit from competitive options other than PTCL besides promoting the sale of
    IP bandwidth of PTCL by denying the same right to TWA.

    4.
    Non regulation of broadband retail tariffs by
    PTA, thus giving free hand to PTCL for anti-competitive practices

    PTA has not been regulating the retail tariff of broadband Internet
    despite our repeated requests. Regulation of tariffs is function and power of
    PTA under Section 5 (e) of Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organisation) Act,
    1996 which states “PTA shall establish or modify accounting procedure for
    licenses and regulate tariffs for telecommunication service in accordance with
    Sections 25 and 26”. Regulation of tariffs particularly becomes important
    in a sector where there is one dominant operator and small operators are
    dependent on the large operator for obtaining inputs. Private DSL operators
    (5-6 in number) have less than 40% DSL market share and still dependent on PTCL
    for collocation, inter-exchange bandwidth, local loop sharing charges and IP
    bandwidth. There’re only two providers of IP bandwidth and PTCL because
    of its size and network, is also dominant provider of bandwidth. PTCL in the
    past has twice increased the tariffs of inter-exchange leased lines by many
    folds. With PTA’s intervention, these rates were withdrawn by PTCL but
    there’s a constant threat on ISPs from PTCL to do this again. Since PTCL
    is competing with DSL in retail market and critical inputs of DSL operators are
    also controlled by PTCL, regulation of PTCL’s retail DSL tariff is
    essential than ever. Any future anti-competitive move of PTCL can drive the
    private DSL operators out of business leaving customers at sole mercy of PTCL.

    5.
    Abolishing Rs. 150 local loop sharing charges
    of PTCL for DSL operators

    PTCL charges Rs. 150 local loop sharing charges per month per customer
    to DSL operators. These charges were abolished by PTA vide its Determination of
    16 March 2006 but then allowed again upon PTCL’s appeal for revision
    (Determination of 06 March 2007). PTCL at that time was not providing its own
    DSL services. Since the start of its own DSL services by PTCL, private ISPs
    have gone in competitive disadvantage. The current retail DSL price for home
    customer is Rs. 800 to 1,200 and Rs. 150 (PTCL’s share) comes to 18.75%
    to 12.5% of these charges. ISPs fear that if PTCL drops its retail rate
    further, to say Rs. 600, local loop sharing charges would become 25% of total
    revenue. With this model, no business model of ISPs could be sustainable.

    6.
    Restrictive Regulations of PTA for ISM
    Wireless Broadband

    The frequency spectrum comprising of ISM bands, i.e., 2,473.5 –
    2,483.5 MHz, 5,725 – 5,875 MHz and 24-24.25 GHz was unregulated band in
    line with the ITU recommendations. Lincensed data network operators and ISPs
    have been using this spectrum for their customers point to point data links.
    The total number of such links working country wide is around 1,200. In 2008,
    PTA issued Class Licensing and Registration (Amendment) Regulations, 2008
    whereby Class Data licensees were allowed free use of this spectrum with restrictions
    of 100 mW on transmit power and 100 meters per hop maximum admissible distance.
    Practically, these restrictions mean shutting down all links. These Regulations
    were published without any consultation process done with PTA with the
    stakeholders.

    7.
    In view of foregoing, to promote broadband in the country and to provide a
    level playing field between PTCL and private operators, we’d request MOIT
    to kindly instruct PTA to:

    a.
    Not to block any IP addresses of ISPs without prior
    notification and withdraw threatening letters.

    b.
    Issue notification for allowing call centers to
    procure Internet bandwidth from ISPs, Data Network Operators, LLOs and
    Infrastructure Providers.

    c.
    Regulate retail broadband Internet tariffs in order
    to keep a constant check on anti-competitive practices of PTCL.

    d.
    Abolish PTCL’s local loop sharing charges of
    Rs. 150 per customer per month in line with its previous decision of 16 March
    2006.

    e.
    Withdraw Class Licensing and Registration (Amendment)
    Regulations, 2008 and make new regulations, if at all required, in consultation
    with the industry stakeholders.

    With kind regards.
    Yours truly,

    Wahaj
    us Siraj

    Convener
    c.c.
    Mr. Mushtaq Ahmad Bhatti, Member Telecom, Ministry of IT, Islamabad

    MD PSEB, Islamabad

  • sjumani

    can i use magic jack device for callin ???
    coz it is runnnin on voip n voip is :@

    is any other way to use voip on wateen broad band ???