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Rs18 billion approved to provide high-speed broadband in FY2021-22

August 07, 2021
Rs18 billion approved to provide high-speed broadband in FY2021-22

ISLAMABAD: The government on Friday approved Rs18 billion worth of 30 projects to provide high-speed mobile broadband services across the country during the financial year 2021-22.

The decision was made during the policy committee meeting of Universal Service Fund (USF) presided over by the Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication, Syed Amin Ul Haque. The committee also directed to release funds for the implementation of planned projects.

The minister directed the USF to immediately start projects for the provision of broadband services at key tourist destinations in the Northern Areas and complete them on priority basis.

“The broadband services and optical fiber projects in the rural and remote areas of the four provinces are fundamental to the fulfillment of Digital Pakistan vision,” Haque said.

“The USF has shown a 100 percent increase in its productivity since inception, with 6 projects in the first year, 12 projects in the second year and 25 projects in the third year. The USF Company must maintain this positive momentum with transparency, quality, and timely completion of projects.” He expressed satisfaction over the proposed plans to provide uninterrupted high speed mobile broadband services on national highways and to deliver optical fiber cable to the level of union councils across the country to adapt Pakistan to the requirements of the future, including 5G.

The minister said the USF should develop a system of strict monitoring of these projects so that there are no shortcomings and unnecessary delays.

On the recommendation of the committee members, the minister directed the USF to submit a progress report on the status of the projects every three months.

Earlier, Haris Mahmood Chaudhary, CEO-USF apprised the members of the committee and said that the project in Kohistan region has faced delays due to extreme weather conditions and difficult routes, while another project in the Ex-FATA due to the security situation in the area. These projects are only 5 percent of the total projects while 95 percent of the projects are progressing at their own pace and almost 50 to 75 percent of the work has been completed.

Further, he added that the USF has a transparent system of technical and monitoring audit based on which the funds are released in proportion to the work completed on the projects.