Federal Secretary Ministry of IT and Telecommunication Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui chaired the 73rd Board of Directors meeting of Universal Service Fund (USF) on Thursday.
The board approved contracts to PMCL (Jazz), CMPAK (Zong) and PMTL (Ufone) for Next Generation Broadband for Sustainable Development Projects worth approximately Rs. 895 million in total.
Jazz is being awarded the contract of Ghotki, Sukkur and Khairpur districts while Zong is being awarded the contract of Jaffarabad, Sohbatpur and Nasirabad districts. Simultaneously, Ufone is being awarded the contract of Ziarat and Kalat districts.
The Hi-speed Mobile Broadband services in Ghotki, Sukkur, and Khairpur districts will benefit an unserved population of around 2 million thereby covering 549 unserved muazas and an approximate unserved area of 23,252 sq. km.
Similarly, an unserved population of approximately 0.4 million will benefit from Hi-speed Mobile Broadband services in Jaffarabad, Sohbatpur, and Nasirabad districts thereby covering 227 unserved mauzas and approximately 3,431 sq. km of unserved area.
Likewise, the Hi-speed Mobile Broadband services in Ziarat and Kalat districts will benefit an unserved population of 17,406 thereby covering 15 unserved muazas and an approximate unserved area of 64 sq. km.
During the meeting, Secretary IT was apprised about the progress of USF projects. The Federal Secretary stressed the critical need for internet connectivity, especially now, as working and educating from home has become the norm. Moreover, he informed that mobile broadband services will socially and economically transform the lives of millions residing in Balochistan and Sindh. In addition, he added that these projects have the potential to impact important aspects of society such as healthcare, education, and business opportunities.
Other board members comprising Maj. Gen (R) Amir Azeem Bajwa Chairman PTA, Shabahat Ali Shah CEO-NITB, Irfan Wahab CEO-Telenor Pakistan, Rashid Khan CEO-PTCL and Nominee of Fixed Line Operators; Kaukab Iqbal, Chairman-Consumer Association of Pakistan and Nominee of Consumer Group and management of USF Co. also attended the meeting.