MoITT to allocate Rs 8 Billion on 9 Projects on Broadband, Fiber Optics
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The Universal Service Fund (USF) Board approved 09 Projects worth approximately PKR 8.15 Billion to provide High-Speed Mobile Broadband services to approximately 7.59 Million people in un-served and under-served areas of Punjab Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
Advised by the Federal Minister for Information Technology (IT) and Telecommunication, Syed Amin Ul Haque, the USF Board approved the award of Next Generation Broadband for Sustainable Development contracts to Jazz, Telenor, and Ufone and Optic Fiber Cable contracts to Nayatel and PTCL.
The Board also approved the launch of a new program called the ‘Next Generation Broadband for Sustainable Development Program for Tourist Locations’ to promote tourism. The Federal Secretary for Ministry of IT and Telecommunication & Chairman of USF Board, Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, chaired the 76th Board of Directors meeting of USF on Friday.
While addressing the meeting, Federal Secretary for IT and Telecommunication and Chairman of USF Board, Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, said: “Digital Pakistan Vision” can see fruition only if every citizen of the country has access to mobile technology and internet services.
In this regard, Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication, Syed Amin Ul Haque, has issued clear instructions that development projects need to be initiated and executed in all remote and economically marginalized areas.
وزارت آئی ٹی کے تحت 8 ارب روپے سے زائد کے براڈ بینڈ اور آپٹیکل فائبر کے مزید 9 منصوبوں کی منظوری
— Ministry of IT & Telecom (@MoitOfficial) March 19, 2021
The Federal Minister has expressed his satisfaction with USF’s performance whereby USF has in the current 31 months cumulatively presented PKR 30 Billion worth of projects. These projects include unserved and underserved areas in the Ex-FATA region, Balochistan, Sindh, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
The Federal Secretary also added that as advised by the Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication, Syed Amin Ul Haque, the Board has approved special projects on an urgent basis for the provision of High-Speed Mobile Broadband services in tourist areas.
Completing these projects aligns with the Prime Minister’s vision of promoting tourism, providing these services to visiting tourists and local citizenry, and supporting them in income-generating activities.
The Chief Executive Officer of USF, Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary, apprised the Board members about the projects. He also shed light on the new program that focuses on providing High-Speed Mobile Broadband services to tourist destinations.
Chaudhry added that the USF team is working relentlessly to provide High-Speed Mobile Broadband services in areas such as Babusar Top, Lake Saif Ul Malook, and Sharan Forest in the Manshera district Kumrat Valley in Upper Dir district, Mahodand Lake in Swat district, and Galiyaat.
The initiative will provide Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to domestic and foreign tourists and play a significant role in sending a timely response to the concerned agencies in case of an emergency.
According to the details, the Board approved the award of contracts under the Next Generation Broadband for Sustainable Development program worth around PKR 3.68 Billion to Jazz, Telenor, and Ufone that will benefit an unserved population of approximately 2.6 Million and an approximate unserved area of 37,730 sq. km.
Jazz is being awarded the contract of Shikarpur, Jacobabad, and Kashmore districts in the province of Sindh, Multan, and Khanewal districts in Punjab and Pishin, Killa Abdullah, and Quetta districts in the province of Balochistan.
This will serve an unserved population of around 2.22 Million in 819 unserved muazas and an approximate unserved area of 16,357 sq. km.
Similarly, Telenor is being awarded the contract of Swat, Swabi, Nowshera, Mardan, and Charsadda districts in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that will benefit an unserved population of approximately 0.22 Million in 120 unserved muazas and approximately 2,279 sq. km of unserved area.
Likewise, Ufone is being awarded the contract of Panjgur district in Balochistan that will benefit an unserved population of approximately 0.15 Million in 69 unserved muazas and approximately 19,094 sq. km of unserved area.
The Board also approved the award of contracts under the Optic Fiber Cable program to Nayatel and PTCL for Punjab. Nayatel is being awarded Rajanpur and Muzaffargarh’s contract, while PTCL is being awarded DG Khan District’s contract.
The Optic Fiber Cable projects are valued at approximately PKR 4.47 Billion, which aims to lay 1,632 km of optical fiber cable to connect 228 towns and union councils, thereby providing High-Speed Mobile Broadband services to an unserved population of approximately 4.98 Million.
Other Board members are Muhamad Omar Malik, the Member- Telecom MoITT, Maj. Gen (R) Amir Azeem Bajwa, the Chairman PTA, Shabahat Ali Shah, the CEO-NITB, Irfan Wahab, the CEO-Telenor Pakistan, Imran Akhtar Shah, the VP for Government Sales, SuperNet Pvt Ltd and Nominee of Data Licensees; Kaukab Iqbal, Chairman-Consumer Association of Pakistan and Nominee of Consumer Group; and management of USF Co. also attended the meeting.
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