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