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Osama bin Laden Getting Faster Internet Than You Have: Pakistan’s 50Mbps Future

Phillip Dampier April 14, 2011 Broadband Speed, Rural Broadband 7 Comments

While America’s heartland is being wired for 3Mbps DSL service, residents in Pakistan are getting ready for speeds up to 50Mbps thanks to a major broadband expansion in the country.

Pakistan’s PTCL, the country’s state-controlled phone company, is working on a major upgrade to bonded VDSL2, the next generation of DSL, which can deliver more than five times the top speed of the country’s highest level of service, at a construction cost of just $200-300 per home passed.

PTCL, the largest broadband provider in Pakistan, has plans to complete the project in selected cities by the second quarter of the year, and then expand the service further out into more rural regions.

“PTCL is the first service provider worldwide to deploy a commercial VDSL2 bonding solution that aims at doubling the bandwidths provided to its existing customers,” PTCL President and CEO Walid Irshaid said.

Ishaid’s company chose VDSL2 over fiber to the home primarily because of cost.  With fiber installs now running around twice as expensive as a DSL upgrade, a developing country like Pakistan couldn’t justify the higher price.  VDSL is expected to be an important part of broadband expansion in the developing world, particularly in Africa, southeastern Europe, and central Asia.

Alcatel-Lucent, which is supplying equipment to deploy bonded VDSL2 service, says it has customers in western and central Europe as well.  Several providers are interested in VDSL2 technology because it could serve as a platform to deliver broadband, video, and phone service, much like AT&T’s U-verse.  Most Europeans get their broadband from DSL-equipped phone lines.

Pakistan hopes to eventually sell packages of service well beyond today’s maximum speed of 10Mbps, at a significantly lower cost.

Currently, Pakistan sells broadband ranging from a basic 256kbps connection (1GB limit) for around $3.50 a month, a popular 4Mbps unlimited package for around $24 a month, and 10Mbps service for a super pricey $119 a month.  With the upgrades, PTCL can either raise speeds, reduce prices, or a combination of both.  Outside of the 256kbps service, all other broadband packages from the company offer unlimited use.

OK for the $3.50 a month price, but it has a 1GB cap.

2Mbps unlimited service for $17.78.

10Mbps service is fast for today's DSL, but at more than $100 a month (ouch), it explains why Pakistan wants better and cheaper options for its citizens.

Currently there are 7 comments on this Article:

  1. Alex Perrier says:

    For anyone who only uses the Internet lightly, just for the occasional emails and light web browsing, $3.50 for 1GB is like a dream come true! It’s also more than 4½ times faster than dial-up. 🙂

    The $17.78 for 2Mbps should be in Canada already! Bell charges $25 (in a bundle with a TV service) for the same speed, but limits it to a puny 2 gigabytes of data. What a pity! Come on! 🙁

  2. Matt says:

    Wow, so come May 2 people in Pakistan will have a broadband service slightly slower than what I have(when it works) and unlimited for half the price. Glad we’re so on the ball when it comes to broadband that Pakistan of all places is ahead of us.

  3. Pakistani says:

    Guys, I don’t get what the big deal is. Pakistan is not some country in Africa, it’s a nuclear power with lots of talent that is capable of launching such technology. As a whole, Asia is expanding in the telecom industry with best of the best technology out there. I know Pakistan is no where near Canada/States are but let’s not degrade other countries just because your country is not up to speed with the rest of the world. 🙂

    • Scott says:

      We may make light of Pakistan in respect to not being a ‘world power’ in such an instance while meeting and exceeding such a common need for its citizens, it’s really us making fun of American or Canadian companies for failing to provide the same or better services to customers.

      Our countries companies roll back the clock 5-10 years degrading service with caps in order to increase profits and protect their TV markets from competition without any regard to the needs of American and Canadian citizens.

      The joke is on us, not Pakistan. 🙂

    • Nobody says Pakistan is not capable of launching quality broadband service. In fact, the point of the piece is to call out the United States for being literally left behind as your country embarks on much-needed expansion of broadband service.

      Hyperbolic? Yes — but not at the expense of Pakistan, who will deliver literally faster broadband to some of their cities than Americans and Canadians are likely to get over the next five years!

  4. Jan says:

    Cool. and now the UK will have 1gbps thanks to Fujitsu. Hey, won’t they be streaming things from the US at 1gbps, using US backbones that US citizens can’t really use because they don’t have the ability due to speed or caps? That’s really cool. Love it. Love it. Love it…. Wait, am I missing something here?

  5. Ahsan says:

    Pakistan rocks 🙂

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