30 projects approved for IT, telecom area

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The Policy Committee of the Universal Service Fund (USF) on Saturday approved 30 projects — the very best thus far — for FY22, with an allocation of quite Rs18 billion for establishing IT and telecom infrastructure within the country

The meeting was informed that under this government, the USF has shown a 100 per cent increase within the number of projects. there have been only six projects in FY19, followed by 12 projects in FY20 while 25 projects were approved in FY21.

Chairing the meeting, Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Amin Ul Haque said infrastructure development for uninterrupted high speed mobile broadband services was essential at national highways. Having optical fiber cable networks at Union Councils level across the country is one among the prerequisites for the longer term digital needs of the country including the introduction of the 5G, Mr Haque added.

The federal minister said the USF was playing a key role to bring broadband services and optical fiber projects in rural and remote areas across the country which can help the fulfillment of Digital Pakistan initiative.

The upcoming projects of the USF include powering of telecommunication site through solar power to take care of sustainability and financial viability in remote areas where the availability of fuel for power generation was difficult.

On the occasion, USF CEO Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary said the project in Kohistan region has faced delays thanks to extreme weather and difficult routes while one project was facing delays within the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

However, these projects are only 5pc of the entire projects and 95pc of the projects are progressing as per the schedule, he added.

The meeting was attended by the Federal Secretary IT Dr Sohail Rajput, and other officers.

USF may be a subsidiary of the Ministry of IT which aims to expand the web and telecom services to remote areas of the country where the telecom companies and therefore the internet service providers don’t enter intrinsically areas weren’t commercially viable.

The fund consists of 1.5pc of adjusted revenues of the telecom operators and various contracts for the event of IT and telecom infrastructures are awarded through auction and therefore the amount is paid from the fund.

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