In order to provide internet services to about 3.3 million people in the un-served and under-served areas of Balochistan, Punjab, Sind and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) provinces, the Universal Service Fund (USF)Board has approved the awards of 8 contracts worth over PKR 10 billion through High-Speed Broadband services and Optic Fiber Cable (OFC). These contracts were awarded to Jazz, PTCL, Ufone and Telenor. The USF board approved the annual budget of the upcoming Fiscal Year 2022-2023 over PKR 32 billion. The project must be completed within a time period of 16 months from the date of Contract signing.
On Thursday, at USF office, Mr. Mohsin Mushtaq Chandna, the secretary MOITT and chairman USF Board chaired the 82nd Board of Directors (BoD) meeting of USF. Federal Minister for IT and Telecom, Syed Amin-Ul-Haque praised the commitment and performance of USF board on its launch of 57 projects of worth 62 billion from July 218 to June 2022 which enabled Pakistan to compete better in an economic environment that is constantly changing due to technology evolution. He said that the budget for digital connectivity has increased from Rs 18 billion to Rs 31 billion in FY 2022-2023 which will increase connectivity in backward areas of Pakistan and also strengthen ICT activities. He further said that Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif wants to increase ICT exports which is only possible by availability of broad band services in rural and backward areas as well as urban areas so that young ICT professionals not only get good jobs but also play the role in stabilizing the national economy. The Chief Executive Officer of USF, Haaris Mehmood Chaudhary informed the board members about current projects and said that USF is ending the fiscal year 2021-2022 with record performance and aims to further build its momentum and break all previous records in FY 2022-2023.
The Board approved the mobile broadband contracts of 5 high-speed awards worth PKR 5.25 billion to Ufone, Jazz and Telenor for the supply of 3G/4G services in the isolated districts of Punjab, Sindh and Balochistan. These projects will benefit around 1.23 million people living in 1,011 unserved muazas of Lodhran, Vehari, Sheikhupura, Nankana Sahib, Kasur, Sialkot, Narowal and Gujrat districts in Punjab, Thatta, Sujawal, Tando Muhammad Khan, Badin, Hyderabad, Umarkot and Tando Allahyar in Sindh and Loralai in Balochistan, thereby covering an approximate un-served area of 10,574 sq. km. Furthermore, the high-speed mobile broadband services for National Highways and Motorways contract worth 449 Million to Jazz has been awarded for providing 4G services to commuters on motorway respectively. The 70.67km of road segment passing through the districts of Hafizabad, Faisalabad, Toba Tek Singh, Khanewal and Multan will also be provided 4G connectivity under this project.
The USF board has also licensed 2 OFC contracts worth PKR 4.8 billion to PTCL to provide connectivity to 91 Union Councils (UCs) of Blochistan and KPK. Over 2 million people in the districts of Gwadar in Balochistan and Peshawar, Nowshera and Charsadda and Mardan in KPK will benefit under this project which will establish almost 884 km of OFC. These projects are designed to connect 872 educational institutions, 391 government offices and 216 health institutions along with mandatory connect of 527 BTS towers within 5 mile radius of the node.