Universal Service Fund signed three contracts with PTCL for providing Broadband Services in the Un-Served Urban areas of Southern Punjab and Lower Sindh and for providing Optic Fiber connectivity to all Tehsils in Southern Balochistan. CEO-PTCL, Walid Irshaid and Chief Executive Officer Universal Service Fund, Parvez Iftikhar signed these contracts.
Universal Service Fund shall be paying Rs. 1.16 Billion for the project to provide broadband in un-served urban areas of Southern Punjab (MTR) and Rs. 550 Million for providing broadband in lower Sindh (STR-1). Similarly Rs. 1.2 Billion will be paid to PTCL for laying 1,166 Km Optic Fiber cables in Southern Balochistan.
Through the two broadband projects, 63,000 broadband connections in Southern Punjab and 23,500 in Lower Sindh are targeted to be achieved. The MTR project also includes establishment of Educational Broadband Centres (EBCs) in 206 high-schools, colleges and libraries plus 58 Community Broadband Centres (CBCs) for those who cannot afford PCs. Similarly 82 EBCs and 43 CBCs will be established in STR-1.
Giving his remarks about the projects, Federal Secretary for Information Technology, Mr. Naguibullah Malik said that the Ministry of IT is striving to increase the level of telecom penetration all over the country. He informed that Ministry of IT, through USF, has been executing broadband, optic fiber and rural telecom programmes which are playing a huge role in socio-economic development in Pakistan. He further stated that Broadband Programme aims towards accelerating the pace of broadband proliferation in the country and will give impetus to provision of other e-services like e-health, e-government, e-commerce etc.
Regarding Optic Fiber Program, Secretary IT informed that in order to strengthen the infrastructure, a series of projects to provide Optic Fiber connectivity to all Tehsils is being run and its initiation in Southern Balochistan after Western Balochistan and Sindh will add on to its importance.
CEO of Universal Service Fund informed that thirty-eight small and medium size cities and towns in 11 districts of Southern Punjab and 77 cities and towns in 09 districts of Lower Sindh will benefit. He further informed that 1,166 kms of Optic Fiber Cable will be laid in Southern Balochistan under the third project for providing Optic Fiber connectivity to nine unserved towns in Bela, Pasni, Turbat and Hub Tehsils. This will also provide an alternate optic fiber route to Gawadar and other coastal towns of Balochistan.