Islamabad (January 12, 2018): Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has said that the government is making endeavors to provide broadband internet facility in far-flung areas to accelerate socio-economic development.
He was speaking at a ceremony of signing of agreement for providing broadband facility to 5896 villages of Federally Administered Tribal Areas held in Islamabad on Friday.
Chief guest Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi lauded the efforts of the USF in expanding broadband access to tribal and far-flung areas and said the government is providing all possible support to the IT and telecom sectors.The Prime Minister said a revolution is underway in the telecom sector.
The Prime Minister directed the IT and Telecom Ministry to utilize funds being generated under Universal Service Fund for provision of IT and Telecom services in unserved and far-flung areas on priority basis.
The project is aimed at sustainable development in the region. It will benefit areas of Khyber and Mohmand Agency as well as Dera Ismail Khan.The ceremony was attended, among others, by Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecommunication Anusha Rehman.
The Universal Service Funds (USF) has awarded more than Rs10 billion Broadband Sustainable Projects to various operators to ensure telecom services in under-served and far-flung areas of the country.
These areas mainly include Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).In near future, projects will also be awarded for mobile broadband services in D.I. Khan, North Waziristan, South Waziristan, Kurram Agency, F R Tank, Orakzai, FR Bannu and Lakki Marwat.
The project has focused on Balochistan due to its emerging strategic significance with the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Current USF projects include 3G services in CPEC-adjoining areas such as Kharan-Washuk, Kalat, Khuzdar, Awaran-Lasbela , Sibi, Zhob, Kohistan, Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber and Dera Bugti.
According to an estimate, out of more than 12.3 million population, 46 per cent of Balochistan population has no access to either mobile, wireless or a fixed line network.Besides Broadband for Sustainable Development Projects, an allocation of Rs8 billion has also been made for Special Projects. In 2017, the total worth of contracts awarded by the USF was around Rs11.54 billion.