Universal Service Fund (USF) yesterday announced that it disbursed subsidy of Rs. 4.2 Billion in FY 2013-14 for its projects to provide telecom services across the length and breadth of the country.
It is pertinent to mention here that this is so far the highest amount of subsidy disbursed in any financial year by USF since its establishment.
So far, in Rural Telecom Programme, USF has aggressively been working to provide basic telephony and data services in almost 4,000 muzas which include areas where people had to walk kilometers to make a single phone call.
Broadband services have been provided in 288 2nd and 3rd tier cities and towns along with providing more than 520,000 broadband connections. Broadband Programme also includes establishment of 1,100 Educational Broadband Centres (EBCs) in higher secondary schools and colleges and more than 300 Community Broadband Centres (CBCs) for people who cannot afford to have their own computers.
In Optic Fiber Programme, more than 5,000 kms of optic fiber cable has been laid to connect un-served tehsils and towns. Project to establish Telecentres is also being launched in the near future to further expand the opportunities for people.
Amid so many challenges, all these projects are creating a major impact by providing better telecommunication facilities in the un-served and under-served areas of the country which in turn has an incredible impact on education, health and overall capacity building of these communities.
Moreover, the benefits being provided through these projects are helping in bridging the digital and socio-economic divide between urban and rural areas of Pakistan.
It merits mentioning here that a large number of countries are replicating USF model of Pakistan.