By: Masouda Qarizada
First anniversary of “Where is ATRA?” campaign
The protest campaign of “Where is ATRA?” was launched on Feb 10th, 2019 following hue and cry on lack of observation on the price of communication companies. Now one year after the beginning of this campaign, complaints on high prices and low quality of internet packages have been increasing and reminded “Where is ATRA” on social media.
Organizers of this campaign say that have resumed their activities and are expected to continue it differently. ATRA officials confirm that according to law, they have no authority to set up prices in free market but their efforts for connecting of optical fiber would continue and this issue is time consuming due to climate challenges and security situation.
Organizer add that this time they would try to pave the way for tackling of citizens demands through civil authorities.
In a conversation with media, Mirwais Arya one of the organizers of the campaign said, our activities will be increasing hereafter and we would deal with this issue in extensive dimensions. Despite of elapse of eight months from the appointment of new acting ATRA director and his commitment on reduction of expenditure of internet packages, no essential changes have been seen in it.
He clarified that Salam Communication Co should enter bazaar beside other powerful communication Cos and break monopoly.
In his believe, situation of this government network has been worsened in capital and provinces but we are committed to continuation of “Where is ATRA?” campaign and continue it as long as require despite of being time consuming. They have prefer instead of work with social media, to advance this stage through international bodies, cooperation with official bodies, civil society and prominent figures.
He is optimist that this time the campaign would continue with (new content) and (more power) and would be effective.
The ATRA authorities say that free market economic system is based on the constitution and ATRA is not allowed to determine prices. They would try to develop competition so positive changes appear in price and quality of communication networks.
In an interview with media, deputy MoCIT for technical affairs and Acting ATRA Director Naqibullah Selab said that about 1200 km fiber have been recently extended and extension of another 1100 km fiber is underway.
He continued, fiber line of Jalalabad-Torkham, Kandahar-Chaman and Hairatan-Mazar have been connected and work on connecting of Jalalabad-Kabul and Chaman-Kabul is in progress. Extension of fiber line is time consuming in some locations while security situation in some cases impact it too.
According to Selab, US $ 60 million have been invested on fiber line in the last one and half year.