Covid-19 lockdowns and work- and study-from-home trends have proven to be great performance gauges for Pakistan’s internet service providers. The sudden need for seamless and fast home connectivity has helped Pakistanis tell the good ISPs from the poor, prompting the latter into revisiting their service approaches, infrastructure, and offerings.
When it comes to internet connectivity solutions in Pakistan, there seems to be no dearth of options. Both ISPs and mobile broadband companies claim better connectivity and offerings than their competition. But, not all of them provide a solution that’s equally friendly to the budgets and changing digital communications needs of Pakistanis living in different cities.
Internet users in Pakistan’s capital city Islamabad, for example, often complain of having very limited options for home internet. Presently, Nayatel rules the roost in Fiber to the Home (FTTH) connectivity in Islamabad. As PTCL’s old DSL infrastructure left the disgruntled users little choice, it didn’t take Nayatel much time to fill the void and conquer the market with its fiber optics solution.
Today, internet users in the capital city have little choice when it comes to a reliable home connection: subscribe to Nayatel or else opt for volume-capped mobile broadband solutions that do not offer consistent speeds or unlimited volumes like FTTH connections.
Interestingly, the days of Nayatel’s near-monopoly over the city can be numbered too. PTCL, with its expanding fiber GPON (Gigabit Passive Optical Networks) footprint in Islamabad’s major Nayatel strongholds, is making a slow and steady comeback.
So, people now have one more fiber-based home connectivity option to choose from. Competition is always good for the end-user, but it doesn’t end here for Islamabad’s home internet market.
Things are also taking a turn for the better with more entrants coming in to plug the FTTH connectivity gaps in the city. Transworld Home, for example, is now planning an expansion of its footprint from DHA to Islamabad’s key hubs starting with the F10 sector. Transworld office has been set up and its services are live in the area. TW is also already serving in a few phases of Bahria Town and DHA Islamabad.
Moreover, as per our sources, the Karachi and Lahore FTTH leader StormFiber (by Cybernet) is also reported to be planning an entry into Islamabad’s FTTH market in the near future. For this, the company has already begun to lay the fiber-optic network in Islamabad’s major areas including F7, F8, F10, F11, Diplomatic Enclave, and Blue Area.
After winning the Karachi market –the economic hub of the nation – and other eight cities, StormFiber may be ready to replicate the formula of its success in the capital city and become a leading FTTH service provider in the country.
StormFiber, Transworld, and PTCL are actively laying their fiber infrastructure in the city. Our correspondent did a survey of the city and found that PTCL is laying its fiber-optic infrastructure in F7 areas while TW is developing in the F10 sector.
PTCL teams laying fiber-optic cable in F7, Islamabad
StormFiber’s expansion was evident in F8 Markaz where their teams were recently carrying out the fiber laying. These FTTH operators are developing their network in areas where Nayatel has a strong consumer base, clearly showing their intent of giving Islamabad customers more connectivity options to choose from.
E-7 Islamabad development work for storm Fiber (the area between F-7 Street #8 to Street #1 to E-7, Siachin Road Islamabad)
Transworld development work in F10, Islamabad
So, it appears that major internet service providers of Pakistan have finally spotted the fiber home connectivity gaps in Islamabad and are moving to bridge them with competitive offerings and better connectivity.
With new competition stepping in, the present FTTH leader Nayatel could soon face some competition. And it will be vital for them match — or even better beat — Nayatel’s quality of service to remain relevant.
As a result, Islamabad residents will finally have more FTTH options for their home connectivity to choose from.