Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani directed the Telecom authorities to set up IT centers at each Union Council level, fully equipped with latest technology, ensuring the efficient and effective connectivity both domestic and overseas to the people of the region. This he said while presiding over 27th meeting of the Board of Directors of USF (Universal Service Fund) at Prime Minister’s House, today.
The meeting was informed that so far 994 IT centers at union Council levels have been set up with the direction that process should be speeded up in providing state of the art ICT services in underserved and unserved areas under the mandate of USF.
Futuristic approvals were accorded by the Board which include project to connect un-served tehsils with Optic Fiber Cable in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and also launch of enhanced Universal Tele centers project.
The meeting was informed that through the Optic Fiber Project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 05 un-served tehsils Headquarters and 02 towns in the districts of Dera Ismail Khan, Batagram, Mansehra and Kohistan will be connected with 146 kms of optic fiber cable serving population of around 1.1 Million.
Another approval to establish 11 Universal Telecenters (UTCs) through Satellite Technology in Rural and semi-urban areas was also given by the Board. These 11 UTCs will be established in the districts of Dera Bugti, Kalat, Chitral, Khoshab, Multan, Chakwal, Mianwali, Sheikhupura, Vehari, Shaheed Benazirabad and Bajaur Agency.
The meeting was apprised that In Rural Telecom Programme USF has provided basic telephony and data services in more than 3,600 muzas. Broadband services in 256 2nd and 3rd tier cities and towns along with providing more than 358,000 broadband connections and establishing 994 Educational Broadband Centres (EBCs) and 292 Community Broadband Centres (CBCs).
In Optic Fiber Programme, more than 4,100 kms of optic fiber cable has been laid to connect 58 un-served tehsils and towns including Initiatives like establishing telemedicine networks have also been taken to provide better health-care facilities through ICTs.
The meeting was attended by Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance, Secretary IT, Farooq Ahmed Awan, Chairman-PTA, Dr Muhammed Yaseen, Member-Telecom, Dr. Ismail Shah, CEO-PTCL, Walid Irshaid, CEO-ISPAK, Azfar Manzoor, Representative of Consumer Association of Pakistan, Kaukab Iqbal and CEO-USF, Riaz Asher Siddiqui and other senior officials.