STAFF REPORT IBD: The Pakistani market seems to have the basic ingredients for rapid adoption of broadband internet as there is not only a huge, addressable market of over 100 million adults and nearly 30 million households that are up for the taking, but also an encouraging trend seems to be emerging where more and more people are using online means to stay connected.
According to the PTAs recently released Annual Report (2012) estimates that broadband penetration rate stood at a paltry 1.2 per cent in June 2012 (compared to 0.89 percent seen a year ago). There were 2.35 million broadband subscriptions as of December end, 2012, PTAs latest estimates show.
Some industry leaders and ICT experts maintain that the PTAs report indeed highlights that between June 2007 and June 2012, annual growth rate for new broadband subscriptions averaged 127 percent. A record 0.6 million subscriptions were added in FY12, though the YoY growth rate had slowed down to 41 percent.
Through the USF, Rs22 billion have been spent in rural areas, which, among other projects, helped lay down 7,400 kilometres of fibre optics, gave away half a million broadband connections.
This project provided broadband service to schools and libraries, and offered subsidized broadband tariffs in project areas, the report adds.
There are challenges that have come along the way so far, which have been pointed out in the PTA report. The factors that have been limiting broadband uptake include, on the consumer-side, low literacy rates, limited local-content web services, and public awareness.