Pakistan Telecommunication Authority is looking to develop a regulatory framework for the following things in order to serve the needs of the telecoms sector:
- Granting the Right of Way (RoW) for telecommunications infrastructure,
- Defining charges for right of way for public, private, cantonments and other jurisdictions,
- Develop outside plant code,
- Defining SOPs and Standards for in-building cabling,
- Preparing guidelines for use of utility infrastructure,
- Framework for provision of wholesale fiber services on fair and non-discriminatory basis.
PTA, in an advertisement published on its website, said that it is seeking to regulate the above mentioned areas while keeping in view the current market state and the applicable legal and regulatory framework.
For those who don’t know, Right of Way is a term that is used to indicate the deployment of telecom infrastructure (cables, towers, machines) at third party locations.
For example, if there’s a Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) company that wants to deploy its fiber optic cables in a private society or housing scheme for providing internet access, usually there’s no legal cover provided for both the internet company and the locality where its laying down its infrastructure.
In such situations, the deal is usually locked by mutual agreement and consent of both the parties. However if there is some disagreement, telecom companies are simply denied access and hence deprived of offering their services in such localities.
This is not the only scenario where Right of Way is an issue for telecom operators. They are also denied, or at the minimum, face a delay in deployment when infrastructure is to be laid/deployed at a government owned land, cantonments or in case there’s a law and order situation (i.e. threat of terrorist activities).
The PTA is looking to resolve these kinds of issues now. The aim is to facilitate everyone by bringing all stakeholders under a legal cover for timely resolution of any concerns that may lead to a dispute.
In addition to this, the regulator is also preparing to define standards and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for deploying indoor cabling to avoid any accidents.
For the purpose, PTA has said that it will hire consultants to help them in formulating these rules.
Not to be mentioned, the above areas have been identified in the Telecom Policy 2015 and will be regularized under the new rules.