The Internet industry in Pakistan has come a long way when the first dial up E-mail service was introduced in the country by Imran-Net in 1992-93. Serious support was accorded to Email services in Pakistan with the launch of a UNDP funded project called SDNPK – Sustainable Development Networking Programme in Islamabad in 1993; on the lines of such projects launched by UNDP in other countries. This self-sustainable project was meant to provide dial-up, UUCP based email service to general public and support to projects related to education, sustainable development, NGO’s and other related areas. These store and forward email services were charged by the service providers on bytes size.

The size of SDNPK subscriber base expanded quickly since it served a very important and un-addressed market segment. A number of customers in cities outside of Islamabad also joined the network since the cost of communicating via email was substantially cheaper than either international fax or international dial up services. The project was sustained by UNDP funding for a number of years and the activities expanded to other cities such as Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar where nodes were set up. The project however lost its charm after many ISPs entered the online market.

In 1995, Digicom, an entrepreneurial Internet venture launched on-line Internet service in Karachi. This heralded the beginning of Internet industry in Pakistan. Brainnet, Paknet and COMSATS followed the suit.

Timeline of Internet in Pakistan

1992-93 ImranNet introduced first dialup email services from Lahore.
1993 SDNPK launched dialup email services from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
1995 Digicom launched online dialup services in Karachi using a direct satellite SCPC backbone link of 64 kbps.
1995 Paknet, a subsidiary of state owned incumbent, PTCL, started dialup text based Internet services in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
1996 Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) established.
1996 Paknet started offering dialup graphics based Internet, speed 14.4 to 28.8 kbps in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
1996 COMSATS launched ISP in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad, speed 28.8 kbps
1996 Cost of dialup Internet @ Rs. 100 per hour
1997 Cybernet started services in Karachi
1997 Dialup Speed moved to 33.6 kbps
1998 Dialup Speed moved to 56 kbps
1998 Internet calls were exempted from multi-metering by the Government
2001 First broadband, DSL launched by Micronet Broadband
2006 Transworld Associates launched Pakistan’s first alternate submarine cable linking Karachi to UAE
2006 First FTTH launched in Islamabad by Nayatel (Pvt) Ltd
2007 First WiMax services launched by Wateen Telecom followed by WiTribe and Qbee