USF Approves Projects of Broadband for Sustainable Development Worth Rs 1.8 Billion

The Universal Service Fund Company (USF) Board of Directors on Monday awarded three projects of broadband for sustainable development (BSD) worth over Rs. 1.8 billion.

The 55th meeting of the USF Board of Directors met with Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecom Anusha Rahman in which an overview of the main efforts and development of telecommunication services in unserved and underserved areas across the country were taken in to the view.

The Board emphasized on the timely execution of establishment of computer labs and provision of computer teachers in 226 government girls educational institutions of Islamabad Capital Territory and the special project of empowerment of artisans through E-commerce. The computer labs project had been announced by the government several times during the past few years but the billions of rupees never actually made their way to the schools.

Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Universal Service Fund (USF) Haris M. Chaudhry told that the USF Board of Directors, on the recommendation of the USF, after transparent bidding process awarded a contract pertaining to USF Broadband for sustainable development (BSD) Project Mohmand Lot encompassing Bajaur Agency, Mohmand Agency and Malakand to Telenor Pakistan (Pvt) Limited with a total cost of Rs 850 million.

This Project benefits an unserved population of about 1,599,500, covering 684 unserved Mauzas and an unserved area of 3,646 sq kms.

He further said that another contract worth Rs. 550 million of USF Broadband for Sustainable Development (BSD) project, DI Khan Lot encompassing DI Khan, FR D.I. Khan and Tank was also awarded to Telenor Pakistan (Pvt) Limited.

This project benefits an unserved population of about 693,000, covering 335 unserved mauzas and an unserved area of 9,010 sq. kms. It was also agreed that similar projects for North Waziristan agency will soon be brought to the Board after completion of technical surveys and appropriate planning.

He further said that a remaining part of the Pashin, Qilat and Quetta has been approved with funding of Rs. 350 million.

Anusha Rehman directed USF authorities during the meeting to work out a proposal for establishment of 6 computer labs for physically handicapped and visually impaired children enrolled in special education centres being run under CADD.

The Board also took in to consideration the Human Resource Policies of USF. The policies have been shaped for the better functioning and performance of the company. The board also approved a day care centre for the benefit of working parents to be jointly run by the USF and Ignite Companies of the MoITT.

All other elements of the HR policies of the company were also revised and approved.

Board members including the Secretary IT Rizwan Bashir Khan, Member Telecom Mudassar Hussain, VP ISPs Azfar Manzoor, Representative Consumers Group Kaukab Iqbal President and CEO PTCL Dr. Daniel Ritz and the senior management of USF Co also attended the meeting.