PTA Asked to Suspend IP Whitelisting Process

The Internet Service Providers Association of Pakistan (ISPAK) while identifying bottlenecks in IP whitelisting process has accused Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for protecting certain interests and has requested suspending the process.

In a letter written to Major General (R) Amir Azeem Bajwa HI (M) Chairman PTA, ISPAK stated that the recent blocking of IP addresses by PTA’s web management system (WMS) has created havoc in Pakistani IT, BPO and Call Center industry.

Broadband operators are also equally to blame as they serve these customers and interact with PTA for the cumbersome, bureaucratic and time-consuming whitelisting process.

Many BPOs and call centers have lost their foreign contracts and have started laying off their staff. PTA issued IP whitelisting regulations without consulting broadband operators and IT Industry. A limited consultation was carried out mainly with long-distance International (LDIs) operators on who are drivers and financiers of WMS.

LDIs are the direct beneficiaries of this system and instead of implementing a balanced approach, the whole downstream IT Industry and internet users at large have been made hostage to their profits. Consultation with beneficiaries without the involvement of affectees is actually no consultation at all. We have already brought this to the notice of PTA in May 2019 but no action was taken. Protection of internet users’ interests is also a prime obligation of PTA and these key stakeholders have been totally ignored and sidelined in this process.

The current process of PTA for whitelisting of IP addresses for video conferencing, virtual private networks (VPNs) and VOIP requires more than 10 documents submitted by the customers through broadband providers and takes 7-15 days processing by PTA. It’s unthinkable that any business in a fast-paced world of IT can wait this long. Before IP blocking, PTA should be proactive to implement an online portal to address whitelisting requests within an hour.

PTA’s fee has to be submitted by the operator in the form of a Demand Draft or Pay Order which requires a lot of manual work and running around. No one gave a thought that in today’s world of e-payments, an efficient system could have been easily implemented by PTA to facilitate the Industry. Media reports mentioned that $30 million were spent on installing WMS.

The additional investment of a few thousand dollars in an online portal could have prevented this havoc and loss of business and reputation to the IT industry and country’s global branding.

In the current situation when Pakistan fights the coronavirus pandemic and countries are enforcing work from home and remote worker management, education, and meetings by video conferencing. etc., PTA is working backward to block IP addresses to protect certain interest groups.

In view of foregoing, ISPAK requested that IP blocking may be suspended for three months and only be resumed after a broad-based consultative process and implementation of an online portal by PTA which should guarantee processing and approval of requests within 60 minutes.

  • PTA blocked world largest “over the counter” medicine company called PTA believes that usage of multivitamins are against Islam. Mentally retarded sick people in PTA.

  • Absolutely agree with ISPAK on all problems mentioned and all demands. I work in a call center and we faced tremendous loss due to sudden blocking of IP.

  • ISP and CC using whitelisted IPs without information of PTA his non approved locations, therefore PTA Blocked that IP’s.

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