KARACHI: Cable operators in Sindh suspended TV and internet services in five cities of the province from 7pm to 10pm on Tuesday as a protest against K-Electric (KE) for deliberately cutting the cables of various fibre broadband providers.
The service is halted in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Nawabshah and Larkana owing to “stubbornness” of the power distribution company, Khalid Arain, the chairperson of All Pakistan Cable Operators Association (APCOA) and the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) told a private news channel.
The cable operators have extended the duration of their strike by an hour after halting the services from 7pm to 9pm on Monday. They have also warned of a countrywide protest if their demands are not accepted and action is not taken against KE.
They have demanded that K-Electric stop damaging their infrastructure and give them reasonable time to streamline their aerial network or migrate their networks underground.
Addressing a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Monday, Arain had said that on one hand, KE negotiated with them, while on the other, it was cutting their connections.
He demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan and Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) take notice of the issue and provide them security.
Arain added that the cable operators needed time to lay an underground cable network. “If the KMC and other relevant institutions cooperate with us, we can lay the underground network within three to four years,” he claimed.
According to him, KE was not complying with the orders of the Karachi commissioner. He added that APCOA and ISPA had also requested Sindh Governor Imran Ismail to resolve the dispute between the power utility and the cable operators.
He also argued that KE had held cable operators responsible for the casualties caused by electrocution during the monsoon rains last year, but the allegation was baseless as their cables did not conduct any electrical current.
Pointing out that the internet was a major source of entertainment for citizens, especially given the lockdown, he admitted that the people would face inconvenience due to their strike, adding that PEMRA should support the cable operators against KE.