Internet in DHAs Just Got a Lot More Expensive

Defense Housing Authority Karachi, also known as DHA, has started charging Internet Service Providers a whopping 17.5% of their revenues every month under the account of Right of Way fee.

DHA says that they need to maintain roads and civil works and hence, charging the fee was necessary.

ISPs, on other hand, are in a state of shock and insist that absorbing the increased fee would be impossible on their ends. Naturally, they will have no option but to pass on the fee to customers – so if you live in DHA, expect to pay 17.5% more money for internet going forwards.

“We used to cover RoW fee and never passed it on to customers in past, but this newly introduced fee is a new form of tax that’s charged every month based on our revenues”, we were told by an official of an ISP in Karachi.

Privacy Concerns

The situation is unique because for the first time ever, DHA has decided to charge ISPs based on their revenues. However, DHA can’t determine the billing and revenues of an ISP unless the data is shared with them. And this is something ISPs aren’t willing to do since it falls under trade secrets and will also expose customer data to a third party.

“It is not only about the recurring price hike, but DHA is also asking us to share billing details of customers as it wants to charge us based on our revenues”, the official told us, adding that it would be impossible for the company to do so since it’s blatant violation of customers’ privacy.

But unless ISPs submit to DHA’s demand, they can’t offer internet services to customers living in the gated community.

Double Charging

Not to mention, ISPs had already paid the RoW fee to CBC (Cantonment Board Clifton) for laying cable in DHA Phase 1 to 7. Despite CBC’s payment, DHA is now asking ISPs to pay the fee on a recurring basis, which is far from industry standards.

Role of PTA and MoIT

Despite clear instructions in Telecom Policy 2015, PTA is yet to devise a mechanism and framework for resolving Right of Way issues for telecom companies.

We know for a fact that telecom operators are unable to provide services in certain areas in urban centers – particularly in Karachi – just because they are not allowed to lay cables in private societies and communities.

PTA has also been urged by ISPs to rationalize the price structure for RoW in a manner that is fair financially for companies.

Not to mention, ISPs have not revised tariffs despite a 20% increase in bandwidth costs due to rupee depreciation. However, it’s not possible that these new levies would be absorbed by ISPs in a very competitive priced broadband sector.

A leading FTTH’s vehicles and fiber equipment operating in DHA areas have also been seized thus affecting customer operations.

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

  • dha was doing this for long time….
    just check different isp pages and see different tarrifs for city and dha.

    not just internet, tv is also same.

  • You can use DHA or Askari Schemes as transit, the Gaurds would usually stop you at the Gate and in certain cases keep your Original CNIC before letting you enter the Housing Society. Doing same now for other services. They may start charging 10% fee for Dam fund as well.

  • Actual Email received from Storm Fiber in this regard.


    Dear DHA Karachi Residents:

    This is to bring to your notice that StormFiber customers of DHA Karachi may experience extended delays in having their connections restored and new connections deployed due to an ongoing dispute between DHA Karachi and our organization. On August 30, 2018 DHA vigilance department took the unprecedented and heavy-handed step of seizing 2 of our maintenance vehicles, on September 5, 2018 they seized a 3rd vehicle and today, September 12, 2018 they seized a 4th vehicle along with expensive splicing machines and other necessary tools.

    1) FAW: Registration Number KW-1507 – from Street No. 5A, Phase 5, Saba Avenue, DHA

    2) SUZUKI: Registration Number KM-3160 from Street No. 43, Khayaban-e-Hilal, Phase 6, DHA.

    3) FAW: Registration Number KW-2522 from Street No.5, Phase 4, DHA

    4) JAC: JZ-3087 from 3rd Street, Ayubi Commercial, Phase VII Extension

    Despite earnest negotiations and efforts on both sides, Cybernet (our parent organization) and DHA Karachi have been unable to reach agreement on the increased charges/tax of 17.5% of subscription prices that DHA Karachi Management intends to charge service providers on a per user basis for providing fiber to the home services to residents in DHA Karachi.

    We believe these charges to be unfair, unjustified and unaffordable for our customers. Our organization has already paid hefty right of way charges to the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) which is the primary revenue collecting authority of DHA Karachi Phases 1 – 7 and made heavy investments in DHA Karachi to serve our customers with a high-quality fiber to the home broadband network. Although we believe that no additional charges are due, we have been forced to pay a flat fee to DHA Karachi under ‘aerial right of way’ since 2017 and despite our agreement not being renewed by DHA Karachi (due to their demands of the tax above), we continue, in good faith, to pay DHA Karachi these flat fees till a final resolution to the matter. Our organization also regularly pays its PTA license fees, USF, APC charges and income taxes. Our customers are also subject to a high 32% tax (12.5% advance income tax and 19.5% provincial service tax).

    We deeply appreciate your patience as we work to resolve these issues with DHA Karachi. As per the PTA Act Section 27(A)(6) and Lahore High Court Order WP No. 2928-2010 in the case of Pak Mobile Communications etc. Versus Federation of Pakistan etc., the Ministry of IT is the assigned arbitrator on all right of way disputes on federal lands and we are approaching them and the PTA for a final resolution to the matter.

    Thank you for your trust and patience during these critical times.

    Yours Sincerely,

    StormFiber Service Desk

  • Those fiber install fees were high already- Rs 15-25,000 plus Rs 3-6,000 router fees. Now with the new (or old tax) does this mean DHA will pass on this tax (or a portion) to FBR, or just will keep the money like mobile and telecom companies do?

    Welcome to Naya Pakistan of Kashmala Tariq and same old phudda bazi !

  • Same is the case with Bahria Town Lahore. Bahria Lahore management is not letting any FTTH providers to offer services to the residents. The only option we have is pathetic service of PTCL in all blocks. The management of Bahria Town include retired army officers and they have joined hands with PTCL to create monopoly in the town. Someone must step in either PTA or MoIT and define rules for such monopolistic approach of private housing societies. The old babas in the managment of societies are killing the innovation by depriving residents with better IT solutions.

    • Yes you are right. They should be thrown out of not only DHA but all of Pakistan. Let’s move back to dialup. This is a good plan.

      PS even 5G needs fiber for its backhaul of BTS towers

  • This tax is absolutely, 100 percent illegal and must be challenged by the ISPs in court. DHA Karachi is no taxing authority and if the ISPs have paid CBC for right of way then no more charges are due.

    Any form of Tax (or any charge based as a percentage on revenues) MUST be tabled as part of the federal finance bill or provincial finance bill and be passed by national or provincial assembly. The DHA are federal lands and so any additional tax must be passed by National Assembly.

    In some counties any attempt to devise and implement your own tax is an act against the state and an attempt to usurp the powers of the state and punishable with harsh penalties.

    I just don’t understand why the ISPs just don’t take a stance in court. This tax will be dismissed immediately. Grow a pair guys.

  • This seems more like a dispute between CBC and DHA. In Karachi CBC is the revenue collecting authority for DHA 1-7, in other DHAs across Pakistan, DHA itself is the right of way authority. Maybe this is due to the fact that Karachi is an older city and so CBC was given right of way revenue collection charge before DHA was formed.

    In any case this is a dispute between CBC and DHA and the DHA is taking out its unnecessary frustration for not getting a share of the honeypot on poor ISPs that are caught in between. DHA is acting like a pre-partition feudal lord and demanding a tax on all transaction on its land. Clearly illegal.

    A tax cannot be imposed by DHA and any charge must have a provision in the law. If DHA is considering this right of way as a charge to deploy fiber across its roads then similarly K-Electric, Sui Gas and Water Board also need to pay and this 17.5 percent must be added to their revenues and deposited with DHA also.

    Clear case of abuse of power by DHA and will be dismissed in court.

  • This is very interesting. I see the next story here that FDI in Pakistan down by over 50 percent. This should hardly be surprising with such arbitrary taxes. DHA Karachi is sending a message to companies and start ups that they are not welcome in their territory.

    Such myopic administration. Here in Australia there would be a revolt if prices of internet bandwidth went up just like it happened in Hungary went Internet prices were raised.

  • Not a news at all.

    DHAs and Bahrias are totally Qabza groups. Impounded lands of poor people and built palaces on, to sell to the rich. Such “bhatta” charges reflect their past and their mentality.

    On the other hand, residents of such “out of Pakistan colonies” are well-off and won’t bother much on 17.5pc hike.

    Unn k paas Allah ka diya aur Logon se liya bohot kuchh hai

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