If you’re running an IT business, or working in one, human resources and infrastructure are more important to you than pretty much anything else. This post is about infrastructure related promises made, but never kept. If you read (and believed) the stories that have been appearing about the new infrastructure being put into place in Pakistan, you would think we’re all set, problems are being solved, the ground work is being laid and we’ll all be very happy very soon. However, this doesn’t appear to be the case if you live in the real world. Here’s a post dedicated to what they said, and what they did. Read on!
The Lahore Ring Road: It’s been talked about for 15 years, almost. Where is it? The plans have changed more times than most citizens have been able to keep track of. It’s been a magnet for real estate thugs who charge premiums by producing maps and claim their properties will become commercial areas since they border this invisible Ring Road. Yet, when you drive around town, the reality is that the Ring Road doesn’t even exist in parts. What were supposed to be major intersections, such as those with the Canal around the Herbancepura area, are dusty, single lane, perpetually clogged chaurahas of misery! Not having the Ring Road means that access to the airport from many parts of the Canal requires you to traverse roads that have degenerated into dirt tracks… How do you get foreign customers to the friggin’ airport without embarrassing yourself?
The Punjab Entertainment Corp’s IMAX project: Another one of those projects that will probably never get done. Apparently, the Chief Minister’s son got MM Alam’s road “Doonga Park” signed away to this previously unknown Punjab Entertainment Company that was supposed to develop an IMAX cinema and mall. Why was this important? Because it would have been one of the few things to do around town, other than eat and meet relatives. What happened to the project? Apparently some underhanded manuevers that were used to sign this property away were exposed in court and since then, a super ugly, less-than-half-built, concrete and steel behemoth is lying rotting and rusting away in a multi-acre, 70 foot deep pit. As if MM Alam road was not bad enough previously, now we have this work of art to contend with. There is no resolution in sight.
GoP’s claims around Intellectual Property Protection: PSEB claims the IP laws were augmented in 2000 to cover software and other digital assets. The government is supposed to clamp down on illegal trade in digital assets. What have they done? Nothing. What’s stopping them? Do they not know where Hafeez Center is located?
Wateen’s “million user WiMax rollout”: Back in late 2004, Wateen decided to use Motorola WiMax implementations to initially bring a million users in Pakistan on to their new network. In May 2006, they announced to the world that they would be rolling out their network anytime now. Here we are in September 2007, and much less a million users, I can’t name 10 that are on this network (actually, I can’t even name 1). Now, apparently Mobilink has announced that their WiMax rollout is nigh. Let’s hope they do better than Wateen!
PTCL’s 256Kbps data throughput claim on their WLL sets: For many of us, WLL is the only hope in hell of getting a non-noisy phone connection. Forget land lines with their messy khamba connections or water logged, noisy joins! So we were all justifiably thrilled when PTCL’s distributors and VPTCL support staff started talking about the new Huawei WLL desk sets and the 256Kbps connectivity available through them. On closer analysis, it turns out the the 256Kbps you’re getting is between the desk set (phone) and the PC!! Your actual data transfer rates are still in 56Kbps modem territory. Is it just me or can no one figure out what Etisalat has done to improve PTC other than deploy a better looking website?
(NON PAKISTAN Special Mention) OLPC’s “$100 Laptop”: Yeah, right. It’s at $188 now and is available at that price only if you convince the very same developing country governments who haven’t implemented simpler, more effective plans to improve education in their countries, to buy lots of 250,000 of these low powered sorta-kinda-PC-substitutes. Gimme a break! Om Malik points out some additional issues with the OLPC.
Feel free to add to the list!