Given the current situation of the Telecom industry in Pakistan, it would be easier to say itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in the hands of some people who have access to outdated knowledge base!
A bold comment like this one comes directly as a result of a quote from PakistanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s telecom service website which states, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Digitization 100%Ã¢â‚¬Â of phone lines! I believe what they want to state is that the service providers can provide fiber services now in certain areas; as per the fiber terminology: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Green FieldsÃ¢â‚¬Â. As a medium of telecommunication, in pretty much every part of the world, Copper medium is still considered to be Ã¢â‚¬Å“AnalogueÃ¢â‚¬Â medium for communications. If Pakistan did have 100% digitization it would mean we would have 100% fiber services and no analogue (most certainly a dream come true for some technology architects)! The reality is quite contrary to this picture portrayed by Pakistan telecomÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s internal review reports at the moment. Alternatively, it could mean that our Exchanges are 100% digital, which again is not quite true.
So what is the turn of events in the Telecom industry in Pakistan? The answer to that lies in the way we perceive things and how the laws pertaining to the Telecom in Pakistan are fabricated! Elaborating the point it may be evident from one of the many incidents that fellow readers and writers may have come across namely: Ordering and Provisioning cycle of services in Pakistan! Call a customer representative in a LAN service provider and ask him/her if you can get DSL on a fiber connection! The typical response to that is Ã¢â‚¬Å“No sir, your area does not have DSL configured for the Digital connection!Ã¢â‚¬Â
This scenario highlights two basic issues:
– People are not aware of the difference between fiber and POTS (Plain Old Telephone Services).
– Customer service representatives and sometimes the higher up District Logisticians are a little bit behind on Fiber and Analogue differences!
So what does this really mean for our telecom services? It simply means that we may have a lot to offer in terms of telephony services and high-speed digital connections; however our decision makers within the current hierarchy of digital domain in Pakistan telcos are unable to optimize the fiber infrastructure usage!
Putting things in to perspective, what we really need is not another Fiber Equipment detail specs or analysis, what we need is the awareness, the knowledge to figure out what we have and how do we use it to its best!
Coming back to SymantecÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the real situation in Pakistan:
– Number of Fiber backbone rings: 8 in total
– Usage: 1 ring for PTCL Current usage: 15%
o 1 ring for Military Current usage: less than 1%
o 6 rings unused
– In Addition to all this we have telecom companies popping up everywhere and they want to have their own proprietary (some skeptics may ask why; the relevance of the question is undoubtedly important and the answer comes from the fact that Pakistan Telecom has no maintainable current system to trace itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fiber layouts other than the recent ones as pretty much all of the plans and fiber infrastructure layouts are on papers which you may see in any of the exchanges piled up in a corner and dust over them to show they have lived through countless political and management changes! They may outlive most of the current employees of our Telecom service providers!)
Alarms raised as a result of this is that our government and telecom organizations are spending money on redundant resources! And then we wonder whatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the problem! Given the realistic situation, all telecom service providers would agree they spend way too much on redundant resources, we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need to re-engineer the wheel every time we plan on expanding telecom services.
Telecom service providers at the moment do not have the demand matrix to justify this heavy cost infliction upon their engineering, furthermore none of our current service providers are investing in trying to harness better industry automation techniques to enable better inventory tracking, or service maintenance.
The sorry sight of the current telecom scenario may have managed to be amongst the top 3 in the world in terms of telecom expansion in the world during 2005, but none of the statistics can justify it. As it appears Pakistan has managed to get into another spree of services which it can not maintain or justify for namesake purposes only.
Currently the standard of telecom Services in Pakistan is at the brink of sabotage. For instance, the vast array of customers are facing ever growing problems of Ã¢â‚¬Å“network busyÃ¢â‚¬Â status, Ã¢â‚¬Å“service delaysÃ¢â‚¬Â, and Ã¢â‚¬Å“choked network errorsÃ¢â‚¬Â and this is much more evident on an average over the national holidays and/or political events.
In the current era of High performance machines and ever brightening industry automation techniques, our telecom service providers are still resorting to manual process handling!
Even though the beginning of this age of hi-tech technology and industrial automation is not just a dream come true in almost every walk of life, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s only as good as the minds that control it.
Fiber my fellow readers is a digital media. If we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t automate, we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t manage; if we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t reuse, we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t justify; if we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t interlink, we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t compete with the world standards; and finally, if we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t educate ourselves; we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t harness billions of dollars worth of investments to their true potential.
In my next post IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll highlight the technology know-how of achieving a more systematic approach towards fiber technology maintenance and the dos and donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ts when working with a Fiber Infrastructure!