Pakistan’s Internet Timeline

1988

  • 786 BBS service launched in Pakistan.

1991

  • X.25 Packet Switched Public Data Network (PSPDN) introduced by PTCL.
  • Tariffs are high, service is low, but in principle one can get connected to the young internet.

1992

  • Pakistan’s first email node established at HEJ Research Institute of Chemistry, Karachi University.

1993

  • Imran.Net starts offering its commercial e-mail service.
  • SDNPK, a UNDP project, starts the first reliable e-mail and news group service.

1994

  • First DNOPs (Data Network Operators) licenses issued by GoP.

1995

  • .pk domain comes into existence.
  • Pakistan becomes the first South Asian country to open up the ISP market to the private sector.
  • Digicom offers first commercial internet service. A 64Kbps link. Rs100/hr.

1996

  • PTCL starts its internet service.
  • Pakistan Telecom Act Approved by Parliament & PTA formed.
  • ISP licenses issued by PTA.
  • PTCL signs for SMW-3 fiber optic cable spur touching Karachi.
  • LUMS becomes first educational institution in the country to have own internet connectivity.

1998

  • ISPs mushroom across the country, followed closely by cybercafés.
  • PTCL introduces multimetering of Internet calls despite public outcry.
  • PTCL, under consumer and industry pressure, stops multi-metering of Internet calls.
  • Formation of Internet Service Provider’s Association of Pakistan (ISPAK).
  • Universal Internet Numbers (UIN) starting with digits 131 allotted to ISPs.
  • New tariffs for international bandwidths using fiber (SMW-3) bring shared IP international bandwidth to US$6000 per month, for 2 Mbps.
  • An investigation by the NWFP CM revealed a cyber fraud by 35 affluent students in Peshawar through the fraudulent use of Net2Phone. The students had bought and sold goods worth US$40,000.

1999

  • India bans the Dawn Internet Edition.
  • ISPAK and Cyber.net hold the 1st Internet Exhibition in Karachi.

2000

  • Pakistan’s IT Policy formulated.
  • GoP’s Universal Internet Access scheme allows more than 1,000 cities, towns and villages to dial ISPs in the nearest city at the cost of local call.
  • SMW-3 fiber optic cable commissioned.
  • Broadband cable introduced by WorldCall in Lahore.

2001

  • PTCL establishes new internet bandwidth service through the newly introduced Pakistan Internet Exchange (PIE) with attractive price tags, but no quality of service guarantee.
  • A group of students from FAST, Karachi launch ApnaKarachi.com, a portal that offers everything one wanted to know about Karachi, from bus routes to maps and more.

2002

  • PIE starts blocking internet telephony and pornographic websites.
  • Government sets up Virtual University.
  • Pakistan Educational Network connects 56 national universities with a high speed optical fiber network.
  • PTA issues determination unblocking Net2Phone and other VoIP services.
  • Intel helps the GoP set up Internet kiosks in major airports in the country.
  • The official website of the Government of Pakistan is victim to a politically motivated attack launched by the latest version of an internet worm. Virus experts said the Yaha.E worm contains a payload designed in part to disrupt the home page of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan with a rudimentary denial of service attack.
  • Microsoft raids major corporations and offices to crack down on illegal and pirated software.
  • AKD Trade launches the first Pakistani online stock trading website.

2003

  • Pakistan’s first geo-stationary satellite, PAKSAT-1, becomes operational.
  • PTCL monopoly lapses on Jan 1 – on paper.
  • PIE network goes down to crawling speeds 63 times in two months.
  • PTCL starts blocking porn sites.
  • PIE blocks access to SA Tribune (www.satribune.com), a Washingtonbased news website, critical of the GoP. Ministers deny the blocking.
  • PTCL bandwidth rates are dropped from US$6,000 per 2Mbps to US$5,400 per 2Mbps.
  • FLAG’s virtual pop activated.
  • Hacking wars between hackers from India and Pakistan reach the peak level.
  • PTCL signs 1st service level agreement with ISPs on FLAG circuits.
  • Internet subscribers hooked to about 45 ISPs in Karachi suffer owing to break n fiber cable of PTCL. Internet remains ‘down’ for 19 hours.
  • Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication announces the De- Regulation Policy for the Telecommunication Sector.
  • GoP announces plans to give away porn-blocking software.
  • The State Bank of Pakistan starts the online Credit Information Bureau (CIB), which is the first in South Asia to provide current data about borrowers.
  • Naseeb.com, an online community that connects Muslims through a circle of friends, launches and becomes an overnight success.
  • Pakistani internet users were unable to load any browser pages for nearly a day when miscreants cut an optical fiber link of PTCL near Sibi.

2004

  • Pakistan Telecommunications Company asks FLAG Telecom (PTCL’s international internet transit provider) to block access to all pornographic websites on its backbone to Pakistan.
  • PTA auctions licenses for Local Loop, Wireless Local Loop and the Cellular sector.
  • Access to South Asia Tribune is blocked again. The Government denies it.

Courtesy: Spider Magazine

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