The Universal Service Fund Company’s (USF Co.) Board of Directors approved Rs 14 billion annual budget for financial year 2017-2018 for the provision of telecommunication and Internet facilities in far flung areas of the country.
The Chairperson, Board of Directors, USF Co and the Minister of State for IT & Telecom Anusha Rahman chaired the 53rd Board meeting today, to overview the main efforts and development of telecommunication services in un-served and under-served areas across Pakistan by USF.
The Board of Directors approved the annual budget of USF Co for the financial year 2017-2018 which is approximately 14 billion. This budget predominately goes to Broadband for Sustainable development Project, serving the majority of the un-served / underserved areas in FATA, KPK and Balochistan provinces as well as allocations for fiber optic connectivity in KPK.
Other important matters significantly related to administration and projects were also deliberated as included in the budget. The budget ensures optimal spending allocation for ongoing and major planned projects under special projects including ICT for girls and ICT for MSMEs.
On the management proposal relating to coverage gaps, and the undeserved areas embedded within the covered areas through the small lots project, the Board directed the USF management to meet telecom operators through PTA. They were ordered to collect data of those under served areas where broadband services are not available yet, bringing data to those pockets which are devoid of broadband services in their areas. The Board will decide the policy measures to address the services issue of such areas.
Board members including the Secretary IT; Mr. Rizwan Bashir Khan, Member Telecom; Mr. Mudassar Hussain, Chairman PTA; Dr. Ismail Shah, VP ISPs; Mr. Azfar Manzoor, President and CEO PTCL; Mr. Daniel Ritz and the senior management of USF Co also attended the meeting.