KARACHI - Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has been conducting a quality of service survey of broadband of all ISPs in the country till the last week of June. The Nation has learnt that PTA has asked the ISPs of the country to provide internet and intranet services to PTA headquarter and its zonal offices which is part of QoS survey, while it has been mandatory for all the ISPs to make their service 95 percent up for a day with the downtime of half an hour. The testing service of a single ISP takes some 15 to 20 days, and they have to provide uninterrupted internet supply for 23 hours a day out of 24 hours, on which the downtime parameter of the survey will decide the penalty to be imposed on tested ISPs by the authority. If any ISP found involved in more than allowed downtime, show cause notice would be issued to that and would be given one months time to file their answer. Later they would be fined if they do not provide sufficient answer, and the amount of fine would be decided by the authority. According to the definition of downtime 'it is a period of time that a system fails to provide or perform its primary function, but when one looks at PTAs recent RFP for award of internet services contract 'Downtime is considered when both Wireless and DSL are down or degraded services in one complain or day will be 30 minutes. Downtime is considered if there is a 50 percent packet loss in case of Internet bandwidth and degraded is considered if there is more than 3 percent packet loss which will be checked by unit of customer and third party software like MRTG. Apparently, it means that 30 minutes of downtime (per day) is allowable anything beyond this will be penalised, according to PTA. A market expert, Kamran Bukhari, says people get more downtime at their homes by their ISP providers than this pretty half an hour allowable downtime set by PTA, and the sad thing is that the consumer cannot do any thing with this issue. PTA should start similar penalty kind of service contract for customers, as it has been observed that PTCL and Wateen customers suffer most downtime for days and there is no one to hear their pleas, he added. It is pertinent to mention that there are some 20 to 25 ISPs in Karachi including WLL and Broadband and around 50 to 60 all over the country that provide broadband facility.