Internet goes down for several hours in parts of Pakistan

A man explores social media on a computer at an internet club in Islamabad, Pakistan, August 11, 2016. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood

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ISLAMABAD, Aug 19 (Reuters) – Internet connectivity was fully restored in central and northern parts of Pakistan on Friday after an hours-long outage caused by heavy rains and floods, the country’s telecom regulator said.

Major Pakistani telecom operators reported earlier that connectivity was down in some regions, including the capital and other major urban centers, with one company reporting that flooding was responsible for the problem.

“The technical fault in data networks which caused internet outage in Pakistan has been resolved,” the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said in a statement, adding that all internet services had been restored to normal.

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State-owned Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd’s (PTCL) (PTCA.PSX) said earlier that its optical fiber network was experiencing faults and users in northern and central regions were facing an outage.

“Due to heavy rains and floods, PTCL’s optical fiber network is experiencing some technical faults,” it said on Twitter.

It later said that the fault had been rectified.

PTCL’s problems had a knock-on effect on other service providers, including on cellular data.

Telenor Pakistan, backed by Norway’s Telenor (TEL.OL), said its internet network was down because of a network issue at its internet service provider.

Pakistani users posting on social media said other telecom providers went down, but there were no statements acknowledging problems from other companies.

Widespread internet blackouts were reported in the capital, Islamabad, and the eastern city of Lahore, Pakistan’s second-largest urban center, where fixed-line broadband users as well as cellular network users reported no connectivity.

But numerous users reported that Pakistan’s largest telecommunications provider, Jazz, owned by Amsterdam-listed global provider Veon (VON.AS), remained up and running through the outage.

“Jazz network is by and large unaffected with our robust architecture and multiple layers of protection to provide consistent experience to our users,” Jazz’s head of external communications, Khayyam Siddiqi, told Reuters.

Pakistan, a country of about 220 million people, has a large and growing internet user base. The PTA says there are 116 million users of 3G and 4G services and 119 million broadband subscribers.

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Reporting by Islamabad newsroom and Gokul Pisharody in Bengaluru Writing by Gibran Peshimam Editing by Toby Chopra, Robert Birsel and Frances Kerry

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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