Islamabad (21 September, 2022): In order to ensure earliest restoration of telecom services in flood affected districts across the country, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in conjunction with telecom operators’ teams has been vigorously and continuously pursuing earliest restoration of affected services since mid-August 2022. At its peak, a maximum of 3,386 sites were down on 28th Aug 2022, out of which 3251 sites have been restored (approx. 96% of the total).
PTA field teams carried out extensive coordination with telecom operators, civil and military authorities for restoration of damaged telecom infrastructure.
Various obstacles were faced including accessibility to damaged sites, commercial power availability, equipment damage due to submersion and availability/delivery of fuel for generator sets etc. However, the continued efforts by PTA and telecom operators to restore connectivity in flood affected areas has resulted in reduction of non-functional sites count to 135 only i.e. 0.26% of the total sites across the country.
Currently, non-functional sites are only those which are inaccessible in some areas of Balochistan and Sindh. However, other operational sites in those areas are ensuring that there is no communication blackout. More than 120 cuts occurred to the nationwide optical fiber backhaul connectivity in different flood affected areas. Now 100% backhaul fiber optic connectivity is restored.
In order to further augment the restoration of telecom services, 4 PTA and Cellular Mobile Opeator (CMO) teams are deployed to visit every affected tower/BTSs. Continuous and proactive joint efforts by PTA and telecom operators have helped in getting telecom infrastructure back to pre-floods level.
Apart from restoration of telecom infrastructure, PTA is also extending its continued support for awareness of the general public as well as distribution of funds to affectees. In this regard, short code: 9999 has been activated for Prime Minister’s Flood Relief Fund 2022 since 26th August, 2022. A total of 716.12 Million SMSs have been disseminated so far for the promotion of PM’s Flood Relief Fund 2022. Furthermore, a Ring back Tone (RBT) about precautionary/warning measures during Monsoon season has been activated since 5th July, 2022 for a total of 138.65 Million subscribers. Additionally, RBT for PM Flood Relief Fund has also been implemented on all CMOs networks.
PTA in collaboration with National Highway & Motorway Police disseminated 84.5 Million SMS for travel advisory purposes. Apart from that, 155 Million SMSs have also been disseminated for creating awareness among flood affectees regarding contacting 911 in case of emergency. In addition, support has been provided to BISP at different locations in Balochistan for smooth disbursement of compensation to flood affectees.
Khurram Ali Mehran