10 Reasons Why Internet in Pakistan Sucks

Show us someone who hasn’t whined about their internet and we’ll show you a liar. Whether it’s disconnections, slow browsing speeds, poor downloading speeds or just general hiccups, here are 10 reasons why internet in Pakistan sucks.

1 – The Government Keeps Taxing The Internet

Affordable internet means a stimulated economy, empowered citizens and more pictures of cats. But try telling that to the government.

In the last 12 months, we’ve seen an increasing number of taxes being added on internet in Pakistan. Whether it’s a 14% advanced witholding tax or a 19.5% data tax on 3G/4G, the dream of affordable internet for the masses keeps slipping further away.

2- Data Limits on Most Packages

Did you know that if you exceed 300GB data on your PTCL broadband connection below 8mbps, you get charged a flat Rs. 5000? Yep. And this is one of the most generous data limits you can get in Pakistan. Most packages by Pakistani internet providers have data caps.

We aren’t even discussing your 3G/4G/EVO data limits that could get digested with just a single 4K of watch on Netflix.

3 – The Country Goes Offline When An Undersea Cable Malfunctions

In what has become a regular series of posts on ProPakistani, we are constantly informing users that they are going to face connectivity issues because yet again, a fault in the submarine cable that provides Pakistan internet is facing difficulties.

Whatever redundancy arrangements exist on part of our ISPs, they need to be better. Availability is one of the most important metrics when it comes to judging an ISP and it’s poor in Pakistan.

We are hoping that new back-hauls are being deployed and things are going to get better, but till then let’s face it.

4 – Terrible Customer Support

There’s a saying that customer support is only good as long as your service is working. Give it a test yourself to see what we really mean here.

Dealing with any sort of customer support personnel can be a harrowing experience. Even if you have isolated the issue, chances are you’ll be forced to run through the same steps with the rep. That’s if you get to talk to a person at all.

Most ISPs are notorious for long wait times and many have even employed automatic complaint registration, so you can be told to buzz off by a recorded voice.

5 – Lack of Choice Between ISPs

The only truly nationwide operating ISP is PTCL. There have been many other services but they have limited areas of operation. And as we mentioned earlier, most come with download caps which severely limits what you can do on the internet.

Often, it seems like choosing the option that sucks the least. You either have to shell out a massive amount, be content with data caps or experience lower speeds.

6 – Quality of Service Metrics Aren’t Enforced

While PTA has defined KPIs to measure the service quality for ISPs, these aren’t enforced. So if there’s a massive outage or anti-consumer behavior that’d warrant a court case in the West, it has no consequence in Pakistan.

Another important consequence is that consumers are unable to make an informed choice since objective data is next to impossible to find.

7 – Censorship

The elephant in the room: censorship. In the past, Youtube has been blocked, we’ve seen discussion forums like Siasat.pk get shut down and reports suggesting that the government of Pakistan heavily manipulates online debate when it comes to politics and religion and engages in filtering countless websites.

Add claims that Pakistan wants to build a surveillance system that could rival or exceed the one owned by NSA and you’ve got an Orwellian state of the internet.

8 – Gaming online is a terrible experience

dota lag

Whether it’s CS:GO or DOTA, gamers in Pakistan are at a persistent disadvantage when it comes to pings. When each milisecond means the difference between winning or losing a game, the poor quality of our connections really drives home.

Factor in the constant disconnections and it makes for a frustrating gaming experience. I swear I don’t suck, it’s my internet!

While we have heard that there’s a new internet exchange being set up by PTA for local peering, it’s still sluggish progress.

9 – Whole of Pakistan is Being Run on Copper Media

How often have you badly wanted to be in an area where Nayatel provides the services, or BrainNet for that matter?

99.999% of Pakistanis are usually left with aging copper media of PTCL that has lived twice its life, resulting into slow speeds or disconnections if your speed are above 2Mbps.

FTTH is still an alien concept in the country and only few thousands out of 200 million people have FTTH deployed and for the rest, internet is as unreliable as Shahid Afridi on the pitch.

10 – No Local Content 

How many hours can you browse Facebook (rhetorical question, don’t take it as a challenge please) and Gmail, or your few local news websites in a day? The fact is that we lack local content to a degree that we can count local websites we visit everyday on our finger tips.

And if you ask me frankly, this is not going to change anytime soon because there’s no return on producing local content.

There used to be a time when several hundred bloggers were producing local content, but now there are less than few dozen active bloggers left — rest are all gone because banner ads are only form of revenues available to publishers, and worse is that advertisers pay 1 cent per click on adsense and don’t advertise directly at all because they think Facebook offers best ROI.

Then there’s no affiliate earning models because we don’t have a payment gateway. All in all, Pakistani publishers are living with dirt-low returns and this is why most of us are shifting our focus towards western audience that offer at least 32 times more returns than Pakistani audience.

There will be a day when Facebook will be the only publisher left in Pakistan and these same brands (mainly the telcos) will repent because user’s won’t have enough content to consume their data.

Talal is a Director and the Chief Content Officer at ProPakistani. Reach out at [email protected]

  • EU,China,Japan,Korea are enjoying 100mbps to 1gbit internet here we are getting 3rd grade slow speed dsl with at least 1 submarine cable cut every month.

        • I was on PTCL….for 1 month. I learnt a valuable lesson: high speed internet at cheap price isn’t worth selling ur dignity to those rude bastards at PTCL I.T. department! I would say this to anyone who uses PTCL “Boycott those government lapdogs until they fix their customer service behavior and quality of service.”

          They were more then happy to take my money the same day I ordered their service, but they refused to check my physical connection or even setup my internet connection like they advertised, giving me some bullshit about electricians doing it! I setup my own connection, and learnt that they were never going to give me internet anyway! I spent one month screaming my lungs out at the complaint officer before he sent someone to check my connection and turned out that if they had done it at the time of buying the service they would have spared me a lot of mental aggravation! when they fixed my line on friday afternoon, I had internet for 10 hours before it disconnected again, When I complained again the kid on the phone said I won’t get any internet until monday….I asked out of curiosity whether anyone mans their server during the weekends, and that was probably the only thing he answered honestly, that PTCL I.T. department is completely empty on saturday and sunday regardless of emergencies! that was the last straw! I had my connection disconnected the very next day only to be told that I would have to keep coming back for the next 6 months until they remove my internet charge from their accounting software.

          If ISP’s in Pakistan have poor quality of service then PTCL takes the top prize for bringing the quality of customer service to whole new low!

      • Most of the people in Pakistan use internet services for VOIP, chat and social media, for all these purposes the speed of 1mb is not bad.

    • People are Happy with 1Mb DSL Internet because if you go above 1Mb you start to suffer Disconnection or Service Break Down Up to 14 Days.

    • it is the gateway bandwidth, the minimum bandwidth u need to actually make youtube video players run….rather painfully churn and buffering at lowest resolution. effectively one Mbps is the starting point of multimedia powered internet! if u want to actually be happy with ur internet speed u would need at least 2 Mbps (2 Megabits per second = 256 kilobytes per second) minimum or u would get timed out on videos and downloads far too frequently.

    • Ek Afridi hi hay jo Match Fixing kai against hay, baqi to sare masha allah se,
      1 out of 11 kia performance dega, jab 10 log fix hai then what can do Afridi bhai.. Cheers.. we proud Shahid Afridi

  • All true points but FTTH Fiber to home is not going to take off in big time because right of way is too expensive to obtain and the payback is too long.

    4G LTE is the only hope and government should give 50mhz to each operator. This will kill Fiber to the home.

      • More than 300GB ?
        Bhaijaan ap kya sara din online beth k daaddon ko apni tashreefgah dikha k kamate rehte hain jo 300 gb bhi ap k liye kam hai ??

        • Me as well. Maybe you don’t require but most of the users do. My 1 game on ps4 takes up to 70 GB (GTA V).

  • وڈ یروں ، خانوں اور چودھریوں کے زیر حکومت یہ غنیمت جانو۔
    ہم ان لوگوں کے دور میں جی رہے ہیں جو وطن واپس آنے پر بھی ٹیکس لیتے ہں۔

  • Thank god i have an 8mbps connection, dealing with a data limit would be a nightmare just like on 3G and LTE.

  • I’ve had to deal with a whole lot of Low Priority pool in DOTA 2 because of crap PTCL. Finally, my father decided we could get Nayatel if it’s available.
    I checked their coverage area and it turns out it was not available in my sector (What makes it worse is that the sectors on the left and right of my sector had services) -_-

    I do not know how long will I last ;_;

      • So that’s what it was. Thankfully I was at the loaders screen at the time and couldn’t reconnect; so I only got that 10 minute penalty so that worked out for me nicely :3
        Talk about dodging a bullet. SEA LP is no joke.

  • Zong Mobile Broadband is the best of the best option..these days service is slow in khi due to spectrum issues, but still it beats many of the net providers.

    • TRY TO GET BETTER AFFORDABLE FTTH AND TRY TO MAKE IT MAINSTREAM!!.. Wi-Max services or 3G/4G services are not cheaper and it’s more expensive… Fibre is cheapest internet all over the world with only expensive installation cost you have to pay once.. Copper has same price of fibre internet but it’s installation is cheap… SOO TRY TO MAKE FIBRE INTERNET MAINSTREAM and Spread it As far as possible.

  • New internet exchange being set up by PTA for local peering is working I guess because we can good speeds on speedtest websites when server is in Pakistan.

  • Il prolly be the only happy ptcl user here. Yes, i dont have any complaints with my 8mb ptcl except for the cable cutting thing :)

  • I’m happy with my lte service and 50gb is enough for me and I am getting around 27mbps. I don’t want Netflix because I love desi entertainment and I am spent most of my free time on the YouTube and enjoying HD videos

  • how to check ptcl dsl limit? jab bill ata hai us par likha hota par kia yeh internet kay zariay check ho sakta hai

    • Use the application DU meter … though it will only measure data used by the PC on which it is installed…

    • call ptcl 1218 and ask them this month data use i am limited user of ptcl so have to call them every month even though i use data usage software but official 100%” usage u have to ask them which is shame ptcl must give website where everyone enter user password to check internet usages

  • I dont know why we have a view that the problem is copper wires and fiber to home will fix it. I have ptcl and wateen fiber to home (gpon). And they both suck most of the time. What will the medium do when the infrastructure is not there. There is no emphasis on quality of service at the backend. If you put kerosene in a Ferrari, it will not behave like a Ferrari.

    • but it’s expensive… FIBRE IS CHEAP INTERNET LIKE COPPER with only expensive installation cost.. once it’s installed it should not cost more than copper internet prices… or else this will be ZULM on Pakistani peoples…

  • Almost all right… some days ago I was thinking about to write undersea cable… this is really a big problem for us :( and enjoy online gaming is just like a wish or being a pakistani I would have to bear a huge price for this.. While working online when client ask us how much internet speed I am using? I simply dig into the ground when I have to tell them 1MBps at $18/month :(

  • NaShukri Awaam..-_- We all know how bad it is when you start comparing it to the best ones but think about how much progress has been made so far! It’s been slow a snail I admit, but I’m not really sure how it has caused any hindrance from important things. I think the most useful feature of internet is communication across the globe, and ours had been just barely good enough to provide us with that. And seriously I don’t think we’re ready yet to handle ultra high speeds too, I mine it mostly makes you an addict of something which in turn will make you socially awkward. So I guess slow is better.

  • Not sure what you’re getting at but you’re just proving my point.
    1Gbps ports exist on routers and most modern PCs also have gigabit LAN.

    • I know gigabit connections exist in the world but saying routers and motherboards have gigabit ports doesn’t help your case. While those ports can be used for internet connections, they’re primarily there for local (backup) servers, LANs and other stuff that doesn’t involve the internet connection provided by your ISP. Local file transfers are so common and so many companies use local gigabit LAN networks to rotate their data. For example, movie studios / video editors work with files which are easily in GBs. Gigabit LAN feels like heaven when you need to transfer hundreds of these files daily.

      Just sayin’ :)

      • Gigabit connections have a name: they are called “T1” connections. actually they start at “T1” which is 1 Gbps, I believe the higher speeds are called “T2” (10Gbps) and “T3” (100Gbps). But these connections are only afforded by those with deep pockets as they cost well over Rs. 100k/Mo and are only setup for office environments in big companies or Hi-Tech university Campus! No one in Pakistan would dish out that kind of cash!

        • I didn’t know it was even possible to get a gigabit connection in Pakistan. Do you know any companies that do?

          • I was only giving an example in rupees!. Not even the big corporations in Pakistan buy it so their is no demand for it in Pakistan. Pakistani companies are already using 4G connections as cheap alternatives to such high end services. OFC thanks to the prevailing Pakistani mentality of always cheating a consumer/client with bad deals even these options are beyond nearly all Pakistani consumer.

  • You’re missing a key point – The routing itself doesn’t make sense. Try a Tracert from Islamabad. It goes to Lahore first, comes back to pindi, then to karachi and finally outbound. You get 60-80 ping before you even head towards Karachi!

  • One main factor… price war amongst companies!! To sell cheap the QoS reduces. You get what you pay for. Compare terrify of Pakistan with that of Europe or middle east. What do you say?

  • There are some cable nets like connect & fariya who provide unlimited data. Pings are great on cable nets. This is the bright side.

  • for me the big reason is lack of choices … its just ptcl all over the place and there customer service … well lets leave that part :D

  • I am using fariya net and it works like a charm 1 mb net
    On YouTube no buffering even on 30 mint videos.

  • wah g wah
    logo k comnents parh k maza agaya
    1 mb ka coonection use ker rahay hain or baten 1GB ki lagay or wo japan usa korea to pta nhi kider kider ki websites per dekh k khush ho rahay :D
    kahan wo developed countries or kider hum log or expectations dekho logo ki or comparisons.
    Ab kuch fazool log comment ker k chawal maren gy to unse request hai k aaina dekh lia karen kbi.

    • Jab tak tumrahre jase kanjar log aur is tarah ke soch wale log Pakistan say khatam nahe ho gate Pakistan hamesa under developed he rahe ga.History dekho South Korea ham say bure halat may tha ab un ko dekho. Apne marase soch ko badlo hamese under developed rahne ka irada hai?

      • ab mere jese log kese khatam hon jub tumharay apnay ghar k log muj TV per dekhty hon or muj uske millions milen. to kyu na tum pehle apnay ghar k un afrad ko roko jo ye kanjar khana enjoy krty hain.

        • Mere family tare jase nakli PhD marasi ko deknay main koi interest nahi rakhti.Tare kanjrana karnamy say mare family nahi Sara Pakistan wakif hay.Tare tareef sirf Tare maun moon par he hoti hai pechay sare tughe galya date hai.

          • kabi ghar jao apnay to pta chalay na..chal shabash ghar ka chakar laga k aa, pta nhi kitnay log chalay gaye

  • Come on. You live in a country where civilians are forced to provide security to (so called) “Armed Forces”. Roads blocked, routes chocked, areas locked just because of the fear that some fine morning a corporate financed “terrorist” will appear to our “beloved forces” vicinity and will blow up every thing. A country where a child die because one of your brilliant politician need security. Here you are looking for a “Luxury of Hi-Speed Internet”??? That’s your own fault. Not government’s.

    P.S: Every such “Luxury” should be highly taxed. (Keep in mind that Cinema, Fast Food restaurants, Branded clothing and even wine is not a “luxury”)

  • in Hong Kong we have 10Gbps available for home use. charges are US$372,
    we are using 500Mbps paying US$US$21 – for 1 Gbps charges are US$32.

  • Talking about “No Local Content” , just search for “Urdu Software” on search engines and you will see how bad the results are. Also there is a need for mind set change to promote Urdu on web.

  • A new ideological friend of north korea. see what government wants to show you.
    No Paypal? and Isehaq dar stated our economy is growing and i am keep asking from my best think tank how to grow pakistan’s economy lol. Even IT minister does not have an idea about freelancing and how many freelancers are being wasted in pakistan. Pakistan is 20th bigger nation in internet user and 4rth in freelancing but no paypal man oh why. they are making fool our people.
    No amazon no paypal no ebay no any other gateway like authorized net or stripe and banks are saying they can make your dreams come true lol again. They are putting tax on internet but not putting tax on tv channels and newspaper. A govt of age of mohenjodaro. One thing i want to ask. who pays taxes? We or Company? we buy a bundle of internet in 2000 and we pay taxes we use 100 rupees card and we used to pay 26 percent amount from our card so where are these companies paying taxes? is that sales tax or buying tax?

  • As true today as it was a year ago.. moreover in UK.. SKY now offers 17mbps connection for 17 quid.. that is 17mbps for roughly Rs. 2000 per month… why is it so frigging expensive in Pakistan?! Plus whenever it rains the internet speed is slowed to almost a snail’s pace.. there are no alternatives.. PTCL owns all the hardware and so it’s their monopoly and I agree when you call PTCL they treat you like you’re an idiot.. even if you have isolated the issue they keep telling you that you’re wrong and they’re right even if they can’t see what’s happening and you can.. horrible horrible PTCL

  • agreed but factor number one is main of all, internet is going to be inflatted day by day and slipping from hands of common pakistan citizens one day might only rich will have access to it, it’s getting on our nerves, no body gives not a single flying f
    about it

  • Dont worry guys google fiber will reach our country after we are dead so we will engoy 1 gbit net in our grave,lol

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