PTA at odds with ISPs over domain policy – ​​Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Serious differences have emerged between the telecommunications sector regulator and Internet service providers (ISPs), the former wishing to set up the central DNS (Domain Name System), while the latter fear that this decision will slow down internet speed and throughput. dear.

DNS is a 12-digit coded system used to identify Internet Protocol addresses, which translates them into letters to identify a website.

All ISPs in the country including Nayatel, PTCL, SCO, Jazz, Zong, TWA, Wateen, Multinet, Nexlinx, Cybernet and KK Networks attended a meeting recently convened by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to discuss steps for implementing the centralized DNS blocking policy.

The PTA asked them to provide DNS server IP addresses which will be whitelisted on the web filtering gateways of the cable systems providing internet in Pakistan. Other IP addresses will be blacklisted to allow the regulator to block all DNS traffic from the country.

Industry sources said carriers are concerned that such type of DNS blocking could have a huge impact on internet services.

The next meeting on the subject will take place on June 6.

The PTA said it wanted to conduct an impact assessment of such a block with three of the carriers – Nexlinx, Multinet and KK Networks. Other operators were invited to share their comments on DNS blocking at the next meeting.

ISPs were of the view that more than 65% of Internet traffic in Pakistan is on five content delivery networks (CDNs) – Google, Facebook, Netflix, Akamai and YouTube – and that they should also be included.

ISPs also said that if Pakistan-based DNS is implemented, it would make hosting these five CDNs very expensive and even slow down the internet speed. They also pointed out that Internet customers using cloud DNS services would not be able to use these services, as many of them operated outside the country.

The PTA was also asked about the future of thousands of over-the-top (OTT) apps on mobiles, smart TVs, Android STBs, and more.

The OTT media service is delivered directly to viewers via the Internet, as it bypasses cable, broadcast and satellite TV platforms – the types of companies that traditionally act as controllers or distributors of this content.

“There is no clarity on the impact of blocking global DNS traffic on the functionality of these applications,” said a senior ISP executive.

The PTA said the decision was taken to control the downloading of harmful websites which will be blocked, after due process, as these fall into the category of illegal content under the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act and the other relevant laws of the country.

Posted in Dawn, June 5, 2022