Broadband in AJK and GB: Capped, Pricey and Unavailable

Broadband Internet has been growing rapidly in Pakistan, in fact Pakistan has secured top rank in recent years for demoing highest growth rate in the world. Picture seems fairly elegant – and everything seems to be perfectly placed.

However, when we talk about Azad Jammu and Kashmir and the Gilgit-Baltistan, the situation altogether different and not pretty at all.

There’s only one army administered telecom operator named “Special Communication Organization” or SCO operating in the region. It enjoys monopoly there and hence chances of betterment are near to nil.

Broadband Internet is not unlimited, it’s very costly (Rs. 4,500 for 2 MB package) and worse: you don’t know if you will even get the broadband connection or not, because it may take months to get the line installed.

For instance, when we called Gilgit’s main exchange to know the situation – the operator said that exchange is running on full capacity, and there’s no way but to wait for a month or so to get a broadband connection. Situation is almost the same in all cities of AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Having said this, it should be noted here that broadband coverage in the state is very limited. Not every city or town is given this limited luxury of broadband and hence there’s no option but to avail internet through dial-up only. Yes, that old dial-up technology which takes ages to open an email.

So more or less, it appears that AJK isn’t part of Pakistan and all the telecom luxuries that are offered in other cities of Pakistan aren’t destined for AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan.

I understand that PTA, ISPs, people and Government of Pakistan are already familiar with this unfairness and monopoly of only one internet service provider of Azad Kashmir. However, there’s no one to take necessary measures to make sure that this basic need of today’s era is made available to the people of AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan.

I know of complaints forwarded to PTA and the government of Pakistan – but they all are awaiting responses.

To give you an idea, here are broadband rates (where available) for AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan:

Domestic:

S/No

Name

Speed

Traffic

Price/Month

1

Standard

1 Mbps

4 GB

Rs. 999

2

Professional

2 Mbps

8 GB

Rs. 1199

3

Unlimited

256 Kbps

Unlimited

Rs. 1350

4

512 Kbps

Unlimited

Rs. 1800

5

1 Mbps

Unlimited

Rs. 2700

6

2 Mbps

Unlimited

Rs. 4500

Corporate:

S/No

Name

Speed

Traffic

Price/Month

1

Corp-1

1 Mbps

8 GB

Rs. 2400

2

Corp-2

2 Mbps

16 GB

Rs. 4500

Postpaid:

S/No

Name

Speed

Traffic

Price/Month

1

DSL Post Paid

2 Mbps

Rs. 10 per 10 MB

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


  • Kayani

    Im from Mirpur AJK,and I totally agree with you,No one even thinks about getting connection from SCO bcoz they are costly as well as not good in quality also… Most of the people there use ptcl evo,which is a lot better but its coverage is also not in the whole AJK !!!!

    We can’t also get ptcl smart tv which,i think,many people wants to get !!!

  • Zeeshan Zafar

    I totally agree with this.. This is utter discrimination. For internet services SCO’s monopoly could be broken by PTCL when they started providing vptcl and wireless broadband in that area.. but now ptcl is playin da same game by running monopoly in wireless broadband and not enabling worldcall or wateen to provide service in those areas.. niether they are introducing there landline broadband packages there… its a pity and a shame for govt n PTA, that a region with literacy rate of above 90% is suffering from this problem ….. MAY ALLAH GUIDE THEM….

    • Zeeshan Zafar

      Something fishy lies deep inside this scenario though, because initially even ptcl wasn’t allowed. now when ptcl can install its towers n stuff there, than why not other companies, n if ptcl is giving vfone, n evo… than why not broadband DSL…. why people there have to stick to slow speeds n high rates….

  • Wimax User

    It is a shame really.

  • Fahad Rasheed

    Yes,exactly this is what happening here in Gilgit.
    SCO S**ks.

  • zain

    thanks to SCO which is run by pakistan army . they havent allowed private companies openly to perform as they always do

  • Bilal

    This is totally unfair with people of Azad Kashmir. People from far off places such as Neelum Valley, distant villages of Gilgit, Baltistan are not even entertained by telephony services. So how can they expect they will get latest means of communication? Using this platform and being representative person of Azad Kashhmir, i would like ISPs of Pakistan to come here and entertain us with your services. I can assure you, you will get highest revenue and number of connections than anywhere else. According to latest population survey, more than 90 percent of population is educated (passed matriculation) and 65% of all population is consisted of youngsters. So, why ISPs are reluctant to invest in Azad Kashmir? Why our people are suffering from such monopoly of SCO? I can guarantee that any ISP which would come in play in AJK, will get much benefits and highest rate of return.

  • Telecom Professional

    I agree with the author that Broadband internet condition is not pretty at all in AJK & Gilgit Baltistan (Not NA Northern Area, because the name NA has changed to GB). I m a resident of GB and I am well aware of the situation prevailing in that area regarding broadband internet. It is also true that only one organization (SCO) is providing braodband services whose services are not of high quality and also pricing which is too high as compared to other companies.
    We are living in an age of information technology and the world has become a globle village and the importance of broadband internet is obvious in this age of information technology.
    Many companies hold license to start telecom services in AJK & GB but they are hesitating to start service. I donot know whats the reason.
    Government should direct the license holder private companies to start broadband service in AJK & GB so that people of AJK and GB could also get the benefit as people of other cities of Pakistan get.

  • Copper

    Wherever army goes, disasters follow!

  • Mani

    I’m not surprised at all to read this after all it’s Pakistan and everything is possible here specially in this government era, anyway a very shameful and immoral act by whomever is responsible for restricting these areas from cheap and easy internet access and other similar services.

  • india have their everything every network in occupied Kashmir, why we can’t have in Azad Kashmir?

  • Restlesssoul

    totally crap…

  • Ironically Kashmir has been treated as a Non-Economic Hub!

    Just like Balochistan

  • Arslan

    I think you should first visit the area before commenting its not like Lahore, Karachi or Islamabad, therefore providing these services in hilly and rugged terrain is not an easy task

  • Bilal

    @Arslan, i think you are not familiar with the territory of Azad Kashmir. There are many ground and level cities in Azad Kashmir where the services are still absent. Mirpur and Bhimber districts are not hilly areas at all. So you can’t say that it is due to rugged terrain.

    In Baluchistan, Abbottabad, Murree and many more hilly Pakistani cities, broadband facilities exist without any problem related to terrain.

  • Muhammad Zia

    Thanks for notifying such a great problem on this forum ….. I can just pray for my lovely AJK

  • Umer

    In kotli Azad kashmir SCO had only 150 broadband connections.And connections are not available anymore! Also SCO seems to have no plans for expansion of boadband and reduction of prices.

  • pakiiiiiii

    yes this is discrimination with people of AJK,PTA should issue Wimax licenses to companies to break for provision of cheap internet. we AJK people witnessed the complete jam of communication during the Earthquake due to the only option and monopoly of SCO and only due to earthquake we have now mobile facility otherwise SCO was even not allowing mobile companies to operate in AJK, still there are many areas like Neelum valley where SCO is not allowing.

  • Net Works

    BOL……..

    Bola tou sab na hay. kia is forum ki awaz management k kaan ma sargoshi bhi karay ge ya nae? or is k koi results?

  • wahab

    Skytelecom provides you better internet in ajk an gb soon

  • abc

    http://www.sco.gov.pk/Packages/DSL_packages.html

    i guess you should not fear about high rates of SCO anymore, they have changed there rates, and incase of speed, 1MB connection of SCO is better then 2 MB of PTCL. you can check it yourself.

  • irtaza

    great bhae g acha topic discussion ma laya wesa ptcl ajk ko looot raha hai inko koe pochta b nahee