Islamabad: According to various reports, as the security situation in Balochistan and Khyber district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has improved, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has permitted mobile phone providers to restore internet services in those areas.

Following a review of the security situation by the relevant departments, the ministry of interior has cleared Turbat city, Kech, Awaran, Panjgur, Washuk, and Kalat for internet connectivity along highways such as the Regional Cooperation for Development Highway, N-30, N-85, and the Awaran-Bela Road.

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In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the Khyber district (formerly known as Khyber Agency) has been cleared, after internet services and even basic telephones were previously blocked in some regions, notably Tirah Valley.

The ministry of information technology had previously written to the interior ministry, stating that the government’s vision was to provide internet services across the country and that the “force majeure” clause could be lifted in areas where law and order or terror attacks were not a serious threat.

During the Covid-19 lockdowns, a top official from the Ministry of Information Technology claimed there was intense demand to restore data services in these areas, primarily from students who had to leave their studies in urban regions.

The PTA has issued directives to telecom companies to restore internet services in the Khyber district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and different portions of certain districts of Balochistan after gaining authorization from the interior minister.

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In the majority of these locations, the Cellular Mobile Operators (CMOs) had been operating just the 2G service, which includes basic voice and SMS, and the infrastructure had not been improved because access to these places was restricted.

The PTA has also recommended mobile carriers to update their existing infrastructure from 2G to 3G/4G as soon as possible and per their business plans to provide better voice and data services to residents in these areas.

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