Real Reason Behind Today’s Massive Internet Outage Wasn’t Usual Cable Cuts

Majority of Pakistan went offline when PTCL’s internet stopped working earlier in the afternoon yesterday.

Initially everyone thought that it was usual hiccup that PTCL faces all the times but then soon realized that they weren’t the only ones who were cut from the internet. Since Ufone’s 3G stopped working as well at the same time, users were quick to guess that something went terribly wrong all across the country.

ProPakistani started getting reports around 4PM about the outage. Initially, like everyone else, we thought that it was the usual cut cables to blame with services probably impacted in limited areas, but soon it was clear that outage stretched across a wider area, i.e. throughout the country.

Not only the consumers but ISPs that rely on PTCL’s backhaul also went offline. Ufone, a major PTCL customer and a sister concern, was severely impacted as well as its 3G and SMS services went off-air across the country.

PTCL responded to media queries and termed the reason behind its service outages as resulting due to multiple cable cuts. Media was quick to buy the theory and ran the news as per official PTCL sources.

It’s for sure not a media cut or fault: CEO of an ISP

However upon investigation, certain details came to light that threw the official version of events into doubt.

If it was the cable cut(s), then why were PTCL’s landline phones working, or PTCL Smart TV for that matter? Add to that Ufone’s voice service (2G) as well, which was working normally.

Moreover, since PTCL’s backhaul is usually highly available and redundant all across, a cut in cable or even multiple cuts shouldn’t impact the entire country.

Industry experts, when we asked them, were not convinced with the cable cut theory. A CEO of an ISP, who wanted to remain unnamed, ruled out the possibility of a media cut. “It’s for sure not a media cut or fault”, he said.

Another top guy in who deals with networks from Karachi was hesitant to accept that cable cut could be the root cause of the PTCL outage. He said that these were not usual cable cuts, if they were cable cuts in the first place. “These cuts were very special for sure; at the most unfortunate places that triggered a country wide outage”

If it were indeed multiple cable cuts, then it’s a badly designed network: Pervez Iftikhar

He further explained that dual cuts often spill over into configuration issues at both transport and network layer.

We asked if today’s outage could be due to software misconfiguration, Pervez Iftikhar, former CEO of USF Pakistan, said that he can’t rule out the chances.

Mr. Parvez also stressed that cable cuts have to be at very “strategic” locations that they aggravated the problem in the network to this extent. “If it were indeed multiple cable cuts, then it’s a badly designed network”, he added.

Parvez Iftikhar also said that there is apparently no inter-operator cable swap in place or else this type of outage would never have occurred.

Not to mention, this country wide internet down-time from PTCL was first of its kind instance. There hasn’t been a similar past incident.

It is yet to be seen if this was a deliberate act or not!

Mr. Imran Janjua, General Manager PR at PTCL, in response to our queries, said that PTCL’s network is designed for business continuity and high availability.

“However, due to abnormal cuts in our cables in different remote parts of the country, internet services were impacted which have been fully restored.”

Mr. Janjua further said that a high level investigation committee has been constituted to determine the root cause of the outage.

Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is apparently also keeping an eye on the development. A PTA spokesperson, while speaking with ProPakistani, said that investigations are being conducted to ascertain the reasons behind the outage.

While its too early to say anything, it is safe to assume that investigation committee that PTCL has setup will definitely look into possibilities to evaluate if it was a deliberate act or not.

Also, the committee must see that why network wasn’t redundant enough to cope with multiple cable cuts. And also why inter-operator swap wasn’t in place as a fail safe in an event like yesterday’s.

We are assuming that this was a one-off thing, and actionable information with full scale lessons will be learnt from the incident.

Pakistan, in any circumstances, is in no condition to bear country-wide outage for millions of customers, corporations, businesses, banks, exchanges, schools, universities and house-holds again.

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


  • What is HACKHAUL? Spell check 101 plz and the article gives no REAL REASON, just speculation.. couldn’t be lamer

      • Click bait + suspense + conspiracy.
        As others I am not sure what was the reason for this article either & reading between the lines is usually ||| . Can you read between these lines ?

      • “While its too early to say anything, it is safe to assume that investigation committee that PTCL has setup will definitely look into possibilities to evaluate if it was a deliberate act or not.”

        • PTA no more independent so like Panama, you have to prove even if PTCl found guilty after investigation that PTCL is at fault..hahaha
          national trend of the day..

      • You are not sitting in drawing room and having discussions. Give something concrete rather acting like Meera Jee

      • let me put a conspiracy theory since Seperation scheme is going on maybe someone is asked for forceful accepeatence of this service .. us nay gusa nikla hia :P

  • Why this article is published ??? whats the reasons ??? wasted my 10 mins precious time

    please dont post usless posts to increase numbers

  • effin click bait. at least when people write conspiracy theories they have an actual story, this has nothing.

  • If it was deliberate, then whoever did it must have extensive knowledge of the Network, usually Layer 1,2 Engineers are different then Layer 3 Engineers.

  • Disappointed with the article…. please raise standards of authenticity and avoid speculations.

    ProPakistan Suxs same as PTCL

      • Wese technically to ‘coupe’ bhi ek word hai or ‘up’ bhi….to inho ne type kr k socha k Chalo jane do hein to dono angrezi k alfaz hi na

        • Bas yar Mirzay kuch raha nahi ab yahan chalou kooch karien.
          Pakoron se leke chiriya ghar tak ki khabrain arahi hain ab is blog pe. Real reason pe article chaap diye magar pooray fasanay main ziker tak nahi socalled “real reason” ka.

          • Aur KMQ ney bhi aana chor diya hai ab. Is liye “ab “aisay waisay logon k main naaz uthaon kis k liye? Woh shakhs tou sheher hi chor gaya”.

  • Oh MOtay Acha khasa taira HALWAI ka kaam tha woh choor kar ProPTI khool li……….ja abhi bhi samajh ja

  • Pro Pakistani, getting lamer and lamer by everyday, just like news channels trying to look for a spicy, sensationalizing DHAMAKA KHEZ side to a story.

  • What a shaefull and poor piece of reporting by Aamir Atta. Entierly based on heresay without any actual evidence. There is no consipary here. Enitre internet bandwith is dependent on Karachi backhaul fiber network. You break it and there will be no internet in the country and this is what happend

    Working in Transport network with first hand knowldge, I can confirm
    that ouatge was due to routine fiber cuts in 4 different places and all
    happening at different times.

    In pakistan cable cuts are a routine matter and usually goes unnoticed due to short duration ouatges. This time outage last 4 hours due as repair efforts went in the evening and night times where work is not easy specially in remote areas with security risks involved.

    Such outages occurs routinely in PTCL network due to Poor OSP network maintenance and Road Construction activities by FWO/NHA etc who deliberately damage fibers of any operator coming in their path

    Admin is requested to stop sharing reports based on fake news and get some insider information from PTCL NOC or region teams

    • What you are claiming is utter disappointment. Wish you could have enough guys to say this with your name, takay banda apko kanno say tu pakar sakay :D

    • Didn’t we get it’s PIE recently which is located in ISB?? we didn’t get the cut at the PIE which is also obvious from claim by PTCL and the fact that ISPs not dependent on PTCL didn’t get impacted. Shall we try again on another theory?

  • there more then 39,000 trillion bank transfer out side the Pakistan in this .. thats was the truth and all online transition was done by PAK-C mobile 4G

  • REAL REASON? even ptcl itself dont know what happened lol. it was shut down at 3 pm, and ptcl responded at 5 pm lol
    so people will never know what happened and why it was shut down. this is the first time in the history of PTCL and Pakistan and this is extremely alarming. Govt should take strick action against PTCL but how can they will? UAE is the second home of Pakistanis politicians. afsoos sud afsoos

  • Well… It’s only a matter of weeks now before Zong announces it’s deal to buy Ufone… Perhaps this was a staff strike or something lol

  • People are being too harsh on ProPakistani for this article. I think there wasn’t any malevolent intention but just wanted to point towards possible sabotage.
    Request to all, ProPakistani provides us a lot of information so please respect.

  • hahhahhahha, PTCL’s miilion year old system can crash anytime. 4 saal pehle b in k Juniper k switches farig ho gaye thay or pura north region men 1 din k liye internet band ho gaya tha

  • Cable cut ki jaga media cut .mashallah Janab . Aap English school main dakhla lain lae .aamir sahab .hamari jaan chor deye

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