Federal Secretary Ministry of IT and Telecommunication Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui chaired 74th Board of Directors meeting of Universal Service Fund (USF) on Monday. The Board approved award of contracts to Telenor, Zong, Ufone and PTCL worth PKR 5.11 billion through the Next Generation Broadband for Sustainable Development program and the Next Generation Optical Fiber Network and Services program.
PTCL is being awarded the contract of Kashmore, Ghotki, Sukkur and Khairpur districts in the province of Sindh. The Next Generation Optical Fiber Network and Services projects worth approximately PKR 03 billion is aimed at laying of 1078 km of Optical Fiber Cable to connect 140 villages and union councils thereby providing high speed mobile broadband services to an unserved population of approximately 4.7 million.
Moreover, the Board also approved award of contracts under the Next Generation Broadband for Sustainable Development Program worth PKR 02 billion to Telenor, Zong and Ufone. Telenor is being awarded the contract of Chitral, Upper Dir and Lower Dir districts in the province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa whereby an unserved population of around 0.7 million will benefit from high speed mobile broadband services in 648 unserved villages and an approximate unserved area of 18,212 sq. km.
Likewise, Zong is being awarded the contract of Karachi West and Malir districts in the province of Sindh that will benefit an unserved population of approximately 0.1 million in 36 unserved villages and approximately 690 sq. km of unserved area. Similarly, Ufone is being awarded the contract of Mastung and Ziarat districts in the province of Balochistan to serve an unserved population of approximately 0.1 million in 226 unserved villages and an approximate unserved area of 6,324 sq. km.
During the meeting, Federal Secretary Ministry of IT and Telecommunication, Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui said that as advised by the Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication, Syed Amin Ul Haque, the basic purpose of these projects is not only to promote tourism infrastructure of the country but also to connect rural population with the digital world.
He also said that the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication is leaving no stone unturned to provide broadband services to every Pakistani and accomplish Digital Pakistan vision; therefore, people should remain hopeful that such development interventions will reach them soon as well.
Earlier, the Chief Executive Officer of USF, Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary briefed the Board members about the projects. He thanked the Federal Minister, Syed Amin Ul Haque, the Federal Secretary and Chairman of USF Board, Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui and the Board members for entrusting him. He stated that USF ensures merit, transparency and timely completion of projects. Furthermore, he added that USF’s contribution to Digital Pakistan vision remains distinguished.
Other board members comprising Maj. Gen (R) Amir Azeem Bajwa, Chairman PTA; Shabahat Ali Shah, CEO-NITB; Irfan Wahab, CEO-Telenor Pakistan; Imran Akhtar Shah, VP for Government Sales, Super Net Pvt Ltd and Nominee of Data Licensees; Rashid Khan, CEO-PTCL and Nominee of Fixed Line Operators; Kaukab Iqbal, Chairman-Consumer Association of Pakistan and Nominee of Consumer Group; Muhamad Omar Malik, Member- Telecom and management of USF Co. also attended the meeting.