The Universal Service Fund (USF), on Monday, awarded contracts worth Rs. 1.328 billion to Telenor Pakistan for projects in Balochistan and Sindh.
Federal Minister for IT & Telecom, Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, inaugurated the projects called “Broadband Coverage on National Highways & Motorways (Balochistan) & Next-Generation – Broadband for Sustainable Development projects in Dadu & Hyderabad” at a ceremony held on Monday.
The contracts were signed by the Chief Executive Officer Universal Service Fund, Rizwan Mustafa Mir with CEO Telenor Pakistan and Head of Telenor’s Emerging Asia Cluster, Irfan Wahab Khan.
Dr. Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui, while addressing the audience on this occasion, said that USF has launched multiple projects for the socio-economic uplifting of people living in unserved and underserved areas of Pakistan.
In order to take this further, the Ministry of IT is adopting an innovative approach to enable people of Pakistan to reap more benefits from the projects. He further said that the Ministry of IT & Telecom will continue to work towards improving broadband penetration across the country to facilitate the masses in rural areas.
He further added that these projects will also open up new horizons for people and provide them e-commerce and a host of other services that they didn’t have access to a few years back. He thanked both USF and Telenor for their endeavor.
Rizwan Mir, CEO-USF said that with the signing of these contracts in Balochistan and Sindh, Universal Service Fund has taken yet another step to provide high-speed broadband services to remote and underserved areas.
He informed that broadband coverage will be provided to 650 km of road segments on N25 (Uthal-Quetta) and N65 (Quetta-Dera Allah Yar) and 451 km of segments on N50 (Kuchlak to Sherani) & N70 (QillaSaifullah to Rakhni).
Moreover, mobile broadband coverage will be provided to 481 mauzas in Dadu lot serving 1.2 million and 964 mauzas serving 2.6 million in Hyderabad lot.
He added that USF enjoys great support from the Ministry of IT and Telecom as well as the ICT industry, saying that their common mission is to aggressively work towards the vision of providing broadband for all citizens of Pakistan.
He mentioned that USF is planning to launch several new broadband projects in the next few months for underserved areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab such as Bahawalnagar, Tharparkar, Kurram, DG Khan, Sangarh, Muzaffargarh with 3,176 mauzas in total, serving 7.94 million people.
Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO Telenor Pakistan and Head of Telenor’s Emerging Asia Cluster, said,
Since inception, Telenor Pakistan has been driven by the ambition to empower Pakistan through enhanced connectivity that creates a positive impact through reduced inequalities and uplifts millions of lives. Our goals are well aligned with USF to spread the benefits of digital and cellular services across Pakistan and uplift under-served areas of the country. This new project will not only deliver better Mobile and 3G/4G coverage on the national highways and motorways in Balochistan but also ensure next-generation broadband service for sustainable development projects in Dadu & Hyderabad.
Senior officials of the Ministry of IT, USF and Telenor were also present at the event.