According to The News, The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) has ruled that internet service providers (ISPs) and xDSL operators will be allowed to purchase bandwidth from alternative backbone operators, rather than just Pakistan Telecommunications Company Ltd (PTCL). The decision follows complaints by ISPs that previously signed agreements were anti-competitive and monopolistic; service providers had called on the PTA to amend their DSL Interconnect Agreements with the incumbent, which when signed a few years ago restricted providers to procuring bandwidth from PTCL only. However, as alternative backbone providers have entered the market since deregulation, alternative operators claimed that the restrictions did not allow them to benefit from the competitive prices of other bandwidth providers.
Following a series of negotiations the regulator has revealed that its decision on 5 May 2009 will allow ISPs to buy internet bandwidth from third party operators, and they will also be allowed to link their fibre-optic cable to one PTCL exchange per city. The PTA has also ruled that PTCL will not be allowed to increase the fee for accessing its leased circuits used by DSL operators for inter-exchange bandwidth only for the next year. However, it is understood that the regulator has not yet finalised its judgement regarding xDSL wholesale and retail prices charged by the incumbent, although it is expected to resolve that issue within the next month.