Universal Service Fund awarded telecom contracts worth Rs. 1.25 Billion for providing Broadband Internet in the un-served urban areas of Hazara Telecom Region (HTR) with PTCL and Wateen Telecom and Optic Fiber connectivity to un-served tehsils of Central Balochistan with Wateen Telecom.
SEVP-Corporate Development-PTCL, Sikandar Naqi and General Manager-Wateen Telecom, Mazhar Qayum Butt signed these contracts with CEO-Universal Service Fund, Parvez Iftikhar. Secretary IT, Mr. Naguibullah Malik witnessed the signing ceremony as the chief guest.
In the Broadband project, PTCL and Wateen Telecom together will be paid Rs. 266 Million, out of the Universal Service Fund that is collected from contributions of licensed telecom operators, to provide broadband internet services in Abbottabad, Batagram, Haripur, Kohistan and Mansehra districts (17 towns) of Hazara Telecom Region (HTR). In addition to this, 145 educational broadband centres will be established in higher-secondary schools, colleges and libraries and 21 community broadband centres in the all the 17 towns of HTR. Six hundred thousand people live in these small towns and cities.
Whereas, in the Optic Fiber project, Wateen Telecom will be paid Rs. 986 Million for laying more than 1,100 kms of optic fiber in 11 un-served tehsils (including 6 Tehsil HQ’s and 5 other towns of Central Balochistan and 3 Tehsil HQ’s and 3 other towns of Punjab). Around seven hundred thousand people who live in these Tehsils, will benefit from this project.
Giving his remarks on the occasion, Federal Secretary for Information Technology, Mr. Naguibullah Malik said that the Ministry of IT is striving to reinvigorate and stimulate the ICT sector by increasing level of telecom penetration in un-served areas of the country. He informed that Ministry of IT, through Universal Service Fund, has been successfully executing rural-telecom, broadband and optic-fiber programmes that are playing a huge role in socio-economic development in rural and semi-urban Pakistan. He further stated that Broadband and Optic Fiber Programmes will give impetus to provision of other e-services like e-education, e-health, e-government, e-commerce etc.
CEO of Universal Service Fund informed that after signing of these projects the total amount committed by Universal Service Fund for various projects has reached 11.4 Billion Rupees. Out of 11.4, broadband in 04 telecom regions (32 un-served Districts) is costing 4.2 Billion and 04 Optic fiber projects (covering 41 unserved Tehsils) are costing 3 Billion Rupees. The rest is being spent on Rural Telecom Program. He further informed that Universal Service Fund continues to run Rural Telecom projects in which more than 2,000 unserved villages have already been provided service and work is in progress to provide telecom services in another 6,000 un-served villages. He informed that all amounts are disbursed exclusively through open, transparent competitive bidding process and all the bidding documents etc are kept on USF website so that anyone in the world can see at any time.
Mr. Mushtaq Ahmed Bhatti, Member-Telecom, Ministry of IT was also present at the occasion.