Remote areas of Balochistan will soon get access to fastest mobile broadband services. The Universal Service Fund (USF) has entered into contracts worth Rs. 3.72 billion in total with Ufone to provide Mobile Broadband Internet/3G services in Khuzdar and Chagai areas in Balochistan.
Back in 2015, USF issued notices in newspapers for inviting bids for the provision of optical fiber projects in unserved areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and rural telephony and e-services in the remote areas of Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces.
Now, an agreement has been signed between USF and Ufone, a signing ceremony was held at Ministry of IT and Telecom.
Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization, Mr. Muhammad Ishaq Dar was the Chief Guest on the occasion and he was accompanied by Minister for IT & Telecom, Mrs. Anusha Rahman. Mr. Faisal Sattar, CEO – USF signed contracts with Mr. Rainer Rathgeber, President, and CEO-Ufone.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Signing between USF and NTC was also held at the event with regards to the establishment of telecentres. Telecenters will be providing e-services, distance learning and create employment opportunities, among various other benefits like bridging the digital divide.
Speaking at the occasion the Finance Minister congratulated Universal Services Fund, Ufone, and NTC to sign the agreements. He appreciated the private sector for coming forward and joining hands with the government. The Minister said that financial and technical inclusion of the deprived and poor areas of Pakistan is government’s policy. These projects will benefit hundred thousand deserving people in less developed areas. The Minister said that government takes initiative for projects that are commercially non-viable.
Read More: Anusha Rahman inaugurates Telenor Digital Lab.
The purpose is to bring un-served areas in the mainstream. He said that policies of the present government led to macroeconomic stability which resulted in an increase in DFI in diverse sectors. Because of these policies, Pakistan becomes visible on a world map. From transportation to telecommunication new projects are materialized and are benefitting people in areas that are not viable for commercial projects. He also appreciated NTS for allocating 30 locations for telecom centers. The Minister said that new locations will be acquired to spread telecom services in far flung areas of Pakistan.
The Minister IT thanked the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to grace the occasion. Mrs. Anusha Rahman was of the view that the Broadband for Sustainable Development projects will take a state of the art 3G Mobile Broadband service to far-flung areas at a rapid pace and in almost parity with urban areas of the country. She said that these contracts are part of overall policy decision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for providing maximum facilitation to remote areas of the country. She informed that a population of around 302,048 in Khuzdar and 147,057 in Chagai will benefit from these projects and around 116 new BTS towers will also be installed.
It is noteworthy to mention here that through this Mobile Broadband for Sustainable Development Projects, districts of Nal, Khuzdar, Aaranji, Wadh, Saroona, Mula, Ornach, Zaehri and Karkh in Khuzdar lot and districts of Dal Bandin, Taftan, and Mashkhel in Chagai lot will be served.
Last year, Universal Service Fund (USF) awarded a huge sum of Rs. 8.76 Billion to Telenor and Ufone to provide basic telephony and data services to the population of Shangla, Zhob, and Sibi.