In a major decision, the competition commission of Pakistan (CCP) has ordered DHA-I Islamabad to give Nayatel ROW (right of way) to operate in the area on the same terms as other existing operators.

According to details, the Commission had received several emails from the residents of DHA-I raising concerns over their lack of choice for cable internet and telephony services (CIT), which was restricted to only two providers. Also, the DHA-I management had failed to issue the No Objection Certificate (NOC) to Nayatel which gave DHA-I residents no alternative to existing services.

“It was contended that while the residents of DHA-1 were demanding CIT services from Nayatel, being a Fiber-to-the-Home (‘FTTH’) based CIT service provider, DHA-I’s management was refusing to issue an NOC to Nayatel to install its infrastructure within DHA-I Phase-I and other sectors,” the order reads.

In the current era, the order maintains, the CIT services are an essential need for almost every person in the country, as many of the users need it for personal use and communication, and the commercial businesses use them for the provision of their services to different parts of the country.

“The ROW is a platform for internet service providers for the provision of CIT services,” says the order, applying the “essential facility” doctrine to the matter. The order also observes that that by failing to give Nayatel the ROW, DHA-1 has abused its dominant position in the relevant market.

“In order to maintain level playing field in the relevant market, we hereby direct DHA-1 to offer Nayatel, within 90 calendar days from the date of this order, to use the ROW for its services in DHA-I on terms and conditions which are no less favorable than the terms and conditions being offered to incumbent service providers,” the order reads.

For now, CCP has not imposed any penalties on DHA-1, but has clarified that in case of non-compliance, DHA-I “shall be liable to pay PKR 2 Million for violating Section 3 of the Competition Act, 2010 in addition to appropriate penalties for non-compliance under Section 38 of the Act.”

DHA-1 is further directed to file a compliance report before the Registrar of the Commission no later than 7 (seven) days from the date such offer is made to Nayatel.