Internet access – quality denied

May 26, 2010 at 12:41 am 20 comments

Okay so total access has not yet been denied but we are fast getting there. Have any of you noticed how slow the internet has been the past week? And how many times the connection has dropped? Some ISPs have been worse affected than others.

Working in the cloud has certainly been slow of late. Reminds me of the days when we used dialup connections. If you are wondering why we are facing these service issues, wonder no more!

When internet monitoring & surveillance takes place and when content filtering is being done, service can depreciate anywhere from between 10 – 75% – usually at least 35%.

No I am not making this up. There has been a debate going on in Australia where the government is spending A$42 billion on improving and expanding the broadband infrastructure because they realize that broad internet access is going to be essential for E-Learning, E-Health, E-Government and E-Business and to assist in the further development and growth of the economy.

The debate has been surrounding content filtering and if under the current security situation around the world, one should buy/develop content filtering and monitoring software and hardware solutions. Researchers and technologists have warned that if filtering and monitoring is built in, it will slow down the overall Internet experience by as much as 75% thus hurting the Australian economy.

Has our government even thought about this? As it is, service levels are not that amazing and work often takes longer than it should. If filtering and surveillance becomes a trend, we have to worry about declining service levels. In addition to a lack of access to hundreds of sites, even the ones we can access take forever to load, thus impacting on the user experience.  I hope the powers that be will wake up to the fact that the actions being taken are only hurting Pakistanis and the Pakistani economy. No-one else is losing anything.

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There is so much I want to write … Why can’t we learn from this man?

20 Comments Add your own

  • […] Internet access – quality denied « In the Line of Wire […]

  • 2. Abdul Hameed Kath  |  May 26, 2010 at 2:48 am

    Mind boggling *O_o*
    Really May God help us.

  • 3. Internet access – quality denied | Tea Break  |  May 26, 2010 at 6:22 am

    […] This cup of tea was served by: In the Line of Wire […]

  • 4. Xeb  |  May 26, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Interesting. That would explain why nothing loads anymore! :S

  • 5. Nadeem Ahsan  |  May 26, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    The rate at which you are complaining, it would make sense for you to consider moving to Australia or the United States or perhaps your new found love – India.

  • 6. Kaleem  |  May 26, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    Got your point. Whats next?

    Everyone, Please lets start raising our voice in same respected court.

    What we can do:

    1) File a petition asking to raise this ban – No one has dared to challenge court to date (Disappointing) OR ask them to atleast exempt IT industry from it, We can request them to think of FB developers, Youtube API developers.

    2) Raise silent gathering and file a silent protest in Press Clubs. You will get coverage and like minded people will get courage to come forward.

    Please think of it. This is ONLY possible solution as it seems.

  • 7. Jehan  |  May 26, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    @Nadeem Ahsan, I have every right to complain if there is something that is affecting my life, my business, my community. I am a citizen of this country. I pay my taxes. I don’t want to live anywhere else. I want to push towards making things better in this country. If I had wanted to live elsewhere I could have but I choose not to. And I think the snide remark about India being my new found love is uncalled for.

  • 8. Jehan  |  May 26, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    @Kaleem a petition is circulating and someone is approaching the courts. Meanwhile we continue to advocate for common sense to prevail. I am in Islamabad. Going to try and talk with the Secretary or the Advisor.

  • 9. sana saleem  |  May 27, 2010 at 12:04 am

    @ Nadeem Ahsan: It is heartbreaking to read such comments day after day. Reflects ignorance,intolerance and idiocy. When I read stuff from people like yourself, it further strengthens my suspicions about us being an intolerant and insecure lot ready to jump on the bandwagon, only because it is the best way to make us shut our eyes to the reality around us. I mean really this is all you could come up with? suggesting that she should leave the country because she criticized? Is that because you like to live in a state of denial and don’t want anyone to give you a reality check?
    Why should Jehan or anyone else be spoken to that way specially when they are clearly not whining or criticizing without a reason. Why can we not take healthy criticism?
    I think its unfortunate that the likes of our leaders can be found in our people. Wouldn’t be wrong to say we deserve them, because the majority is on the same wavelength. Ready to attack whoever chooses to have their opinion or stand up for their rights. Totally unfair and unreasonable. I am afraid it’s people like you who make me lose hope in my people. It’s people like you who continue to make things difficult for each one of us.
    Isn’t it about time that you take responsibility for your words? Rather than acting like it is your birth right to exile people, take the time and opportunity to atleast weigh your opinion, research before you say something.
    FYI: Click here and the blog and maybe just maybe it would hit you that people like Jehan could very well be in Australia, America, India or anywhere in the world for that matter, but Pakistan. Jehan is devoting her time,energy and expertise to the country and for that we should be thankful and proud. She is one of our most valued assets. And if anything we should be proud of her dedication towards the iT industry and Pakistan as a whole. It’s a shame your ignorance doesn’t allow you to see that though. Shame really!

  • 10. Shahzad Ahmad  |  May 27, 2010 at 12:54 am

    Dear Jehan, very timely and pertinent post. Extremely grateful that you raised it. We now have evidence that how agencies are monitoring the Internet Traffic. I also wish to draw your attention to pathetic state of affairs on provision of access outside urban centers. Yesterday, UK’s Queen was addressing the House of Commons and the first thing she said was provision of broadband access to its citizens. Hope you know that many countries are now accepting Internet Access as FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT for its citizens.

    The place, where I live is in the suburbs of Islamabad. It hosts a university, a top of the line medical college, two engineering universities, huge industrial estate and a number of government installations. BUT we are still waiting for the broadband to come.

    In PTA’s papers, we are all connected with the hi-speed network, but they forgotten that just by enabling the telephone exchanges, hi-speed access don’t reach the end users. There is huge huge issue of revamping the copper wire network, which PTCL is just not attending to being the monopoly. Who shall we complain? PTA? They are busy blocking what little access we already have. And then how can they listen a complain against PTCL. Wireless access is not possible due to War on Terror as they jam signals. All in despair.

    And on the comment that those complain should leave the country really breaks my heart. It fills me with anger and disappointment too. Why just we can not put in efforts to build the place better, where we live, which is our own.

    Good or bad, it is ours and we will continue to make it better for us and for our future generations.

  • 11. JDee  |  May 27, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Very good post, Jehan Ara. Nobody could have said it better.
    All the best for the meeting in Islamabad.
    As for idiots like Nadeem, sigh!

  • 12. Nadeem Ahsan  |  May 27, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    @Jehan, Well my words were taken out of context. I only meant that the countries I mentioned offer higher Internet speeds and have better laws that protect free expression. Since you were complaining that the Internet has slowed in Pakistan and many of these countries have faster Broadband, I thought it would be a good match and so I suggested that perhaps you will find these countries more hospitable and compatible with your outlook. When we make these protests, we need to keep in mind and never forget for once that Pakistan is an Islamic State in which Islam is enshrined in our constitution and that people of Pakistan will have to be governed according to Islamic law. If it came to choosing between the Internet and Islamic law, our Government chose Islamic law. What is wrong with that? It is as per our constitution. And we should not complain because this is a liberal PPP Government. Things could get worse if we had a far right Government in power. We should thank our stars that the Internet was not completely shut down and that only a few thousand ‘sacrilegious’ sites were banned. Countries like Iran and China exercise far worse Internet censorship. At least we don’t live in a dictatorship.

  • 13. Shahzad Ahmad  |  May 27, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    @Nadeem sab, this barbarianism, what is being practiced in this so called Islamic Republic is no Islam. Do you really think that… this is Islam?

    From corrupt leaders to miserable Junta… Islam is for practicing, and not for announcing only, as we continue to do that and think that we are doing some service to this amazing religion.

    What is happening around us is totally shameful and above all unfortunately, it is in the name of Islam.

    A good muslim will always be a person with high social morals, ethics and useful for the society. Nadeem sab, outside world is mocking you… wake up and see what needs to be done!

  • 14. Malik Wahaj Ahmed  |  May 27, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    Maa’m Jehanara’s blog is next to facebook for comments 😀

  • 15. Fariha Akhtar  |  May 28, 2010 at 12:01 am

    Nadeem Sahib, I wonder why we realize Pakistan is an *Islamic* Country often when it comes to spreading knowledge be it via Internet or Girls’ Schools in Northern Areas?

    Why can’t we consider Islamic practices while living our day to day life? Why can’t we stop everything from bribery to barbarism that the weak here have to suffer because of?

    Considering the kind of Islamic State you want, it would make sense for you to live in Saudia Arabia or perhaps Iran. Please don’t take my words out of context, I only mean that countries I mentioned offer better Islamic practices and laws.

    We are proud of you and will remain so because you have the courage to raise voice against what’s wrong!

  • 16. Nadeem Ahsan  |  May 28, 2010 at 3:49 am

    @Sana Saleem, @JDee, Please be respectful on this blog. Using terms like Idiocy, idiot etc is frankly not warranted. It is just that we perceive freedom differently. I would rather live in a society that conforms to the tenets of Islam rather than be ruled by the whims and fancies of the ungoverned badlands that has become the Internet.

  • 17. Nadeem Ahsan  |  May 28, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    @Fariha Akhtar, I am a big fan of both Saudi Arabia and Iran. They are both model Islamic nations who have instilled strong Islamic values to their citizens. We have much to learn from them. If alone we had such strong, durable and long lasting leadership that these countries have, we could go places.

  • 18. Ahmed  |  May 28, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Dear Jehan

    I have experienced the same SLOWNESS on a number of sites. It is slightly better now.

    One possible explanation could be the simultaneous SMW-4 activity mentioned here and not due to content filtering:

  • 19. Fariha Akhtar  |  May 29, 2010 at 12:50 am

    @Nadeem Ahsan

    Now you got it right Nadeem Sb- the way we need to learn from Saudia Arabia and Iran when it comes to becoming a model Islamic Nation, the same way we need to learn from US, Australia and our new found love India when it comes to becoming a technologically advanced country. Trust me both Islamic principles and technology can go hand in hand only if people like you and Jehan work together and contribute positively in ur respective areas.

    Moving to another country can be a solution for a few but never for the entire Pakistani nation.


  • 20. Rakesh  |  May 31, 2010 at 12:49 am

    So where does the solution lie? Granted we can make some noise on the blogs but what is the industry doing about it? Who has real stake in non-filtering of the content? Not government, for sure.

    I disagree with Nadeem Ahsan when he points out that complaining is negative. It is a problem, the sooner you acknowledge it, the faster you move towards solutions.

    We can be an Islamic Theocracy like Iran/Pakistan, I have no problem with that. But one of the first responsibilities of *any* state is to give its citizens opportunities to grow and prosper economically and this ban is a totally dumb one. It is not even effective, it solves no problems, it is based on no real principles and there are hundreds of flaws with its sheer logic.


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