Amid severe electricity crisis, Pakistani telecom operators warn against shutting down internet services

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Photo: PTI

Islamabad: Pakistan’s telecommunications industry has warned the Shehbaz Sharif government against extreme actions, including outages of telephone network and internet services, due to extremely long and frequent power outages in the country.

Taking to Twitter, the National Information Technology Board (NIBT) said: “Telecom operators in Pakistan have warned of shutting down mobile and internet services due to long hours of power outages in the whole country, because the interruption causes problems and hinders their operations”.

Pakistan is facing an escalating energy crisis after failing to agree on a natural gas supply deal next month. Tenders for July were scrapped due to high price and low turnout, as the country is already taking steps to tackle widespread blackouts.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif warned the country on Monday that it could face increased load shedding in the coming month of July, Geo News reported.

In a letter to the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA), the telecom companies highlighted the challenges facing the sector due to “unplanned and prolonged nationwide load shedding”, especially in areas rural.

They also urged the Pakistani government to take urgent action “to enable the telecommunications industry to continue providing essential telecommunications services to the masses”.

“Despite the availability of backup power in the form of generators and batteries, cellular operators find it nearly impossible to cope with the quantum of these power outages that exceed our dimensioned backup capacity,” the major operators Jazz, Telenor, Ufone and PTCL cellular mobiles said in a letter.

A connectivity outage on top of all that could end life in Pakistan.

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