PTCL is Transforming Its Network with FTTC and FTTH Throughout Pakistan: CEO

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PTCL, the largest broadband internet service provider in the country, is doing massive upgradation that will ultimately transform the company and the broadband experience it offers to hundreds of thousands of customers, revealed Dr. Daniel Ritz, CEO of PTCL, in an exclusive interview with ProPakistani.

Dr. Ritz was confident that this new investments in network transformation project of over Rs. 27 Billion in two and half years will bring the long-due upgradation in PTCL exchanges and last mile access network.

“We are upgrading our network with future-proof technology and replacing the under-ground cable with fiber and rehabilitating or laying new copper network as and where required “, he explained.

In the Network transformation project, some 100 exchanges — that serve about 50% of customer base — have been selected for up-gradation.

For a common man’s understanding, this up-gradation will mean higher speeds and reliable internet service– up to 100Mbps for home users.

“We are reducing loop lengths, replacing old copper media with fiber till the multi-service access gateways (MSAGs), and then changing the copper with new high capacity copper or even with fiber — when there’s extremely high-speed demand– for renewed and enhanced end-to-end broadband service”, said Dr. Daniel Ritz.

After transformation, FTTC (Fibre to the Curb) MSAGs will be deployed with fiber connectivity from the exchanges and they will be available with-in 1 to 1.5 KM of every home user.

Media of MSAGs till the end customer will be either upgraded to copper or fiber to the home (FTTH), depending on demand in the area.

After transformation, the speeds that customers can expect will be:

  • FTTH customers: 50Mbps and 100 Mbps
  • Copper Customer: 8-20Mbps

Once the network upgradation is completed, PTCL will be offering high speed triple play package at competitive pricing.

New packages offered are:

CEO PTCL told me that around 65% of company’s overall revenue comes from consumer segment and with this transformation, while its too early to evaluate as its been only three months since the upgraded network is live, the exchanges that were upgraded witnessed up to 15% growth in revenue.

“Not only this, the customer complaints reduced by 30% for the exchanges that have been upgraded”. Dr. Ritz claimed.

This essentially means that PTCL will be placed a lot better to offer premium broadband services in many of cities across the country, with better experience and lesser user complaints.

Scale of Up-Gradation is Massive 

“This is an extensive project where thousands of KMs are to be upgraded with new media and hundreds of thousands of pairs are to be re-touched by someone manually”, explained the CEO while mentioning that this network transformation project will be completed in 2019.

Dr. Ritz also mentioned about how “Right of Way” takes a lot of time and becomes a major challenge in the entire upgradation process.

Overall Brand Placement is Being Uplifted

Alongside infrastructure upgrade, Dr. Daniel Ritz and his team are also closely working on overall perception building of PTCL. PTCL has inducted over 300 fresh graduates all across Pakistan in 2017 from top universities under the PTCL Summit Program.

He agreed that the company had been faring poorly in terms of customers feedback but assured that work is being done to alleviate the issue step by step.

Renovation of customer support touch points, intense training of field staff, and turn around time for complaint resolution are being given a lot of attention to offer better experience to customers.

Dr. Daniel Ritz agreed service quality had a lot to do with bad customer perception, but said that with improved and rehabilitated infrastructure, the complaints will lessen which will ultimately grow the trust that customers have on PTCL.

He said that there is already a 30% drop in customers complaints in areas where exchanges have been upgraded. Additionally, they have witnessed growth in customer acquisitions and churn has reduced, indicating that revamped network will help company lift its overall brand image by a good margin.

Future Prospects

Daniel Ritz is clear that PTCL’s future prospects are very promising.

With revamped broadband network, he thinks that company will not only be able to increase its customer base but due to its wide-stretched network across hundreds of cities, PTCL has all the potential to become the de facto choice for fixed broadband internet for millions of customers.

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