Govt to provide fast internet services at tourist spots


The government has decided to launch special projects to provide basic telephony and fast internet services at tourist spots in Babusar Top, Saiful Malook Lake and Kumrat Valley and some other areas.

Sources in the information technology ministry said a proposal had been forwarded to the Universal Service Fund (USF) board as one of the prerequisites to promote tourism in the country.

“Minister for IT and Telecom Syed Aminul Haque advised the USF board to launch special projects at key tourist spots,” the sources said, adding that “internet connectivity in the current era is like any other essential utility required to promote both local and international tourism as internet helps maintain security in those areas”.

Presided over by Secretary of IT and Telecom Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, the USF board on Friday approved the special internet connectivity project.

Mr Siddiqui, who is chairman of the USF board, informed the committee that the main issue with these areas was that use of internet went up manifold during the summer months when a lot of tourists visited these areas whereas the number of local users was very limited.

Proposal sent to USF board as prerequisite to promote tourism

USF Chief Executive Officer Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary briefed the meeting on special projects to improve internet connectivity and provide high-speed mobile broadband services to the tourist destinations.

He said that a team of the USF was working to provide high-speed mobile broadband services in Babusar Top, Lake Saiful Malook and Sharan Forest in Mansehra district, Kumrat Valley in Upper Dir district, Mahodand Lake in Swat district and several areas in Galiyat and Hazara division.

“This will not only provide information and communication technologies (ICT) to domestic and foreign tourists but will also play a significant role in sending timely response to agencies concerned in case of an emergency,” Mr Chaudhary said.

A team of USF experts, the tourism department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and officials of telecom department would jointly determine the base price for the auction of IT infrastructure development projects in these areas.

“The main issue with these areas was to determine the highest usage during peak tourist seasons so that investments could be made to meet that requirement,” said a senior official of the IT ministry.

The USF board also approved nine projects worth around Rs8.15 billion for internet services in several unserved and underserved areas of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Over the past 31 months, USF projects worth Rs30bn have been completed in unserved and underserved areas of former Fata region, Balochistan, Sindh, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.


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