Universal service fund launches flagship coverage project in FATA

ISLAMABAD (Sarzameen News)- Universal Service Fund Company (USF Co) 54th Board of Directors Meeting was convened on Tuesday in the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom, Islamabad.

“Launch of the USF Broadband coverage projects in FATA heralds a new era of connectivity and opportunity for the people of this very important yet disadvantaged region of Pakistan and Ministry of IT is confident that it will go a long way in bridging the divide between FATA and the rest of the country”  The Chairperson USF Board of Directors and the Minister of State for IT & Telecom; Mrs. Anusha Rahman Khan said this while chairing the USF Board meeting in which an overview of the main efforts and development of telecommunication services in un-served and under-served areas across Pakistan by USF were taken in to the view.

The USF Board of Directors in this meeting awarded Broadband for Sustainable (BSD) Project Khyber Lot to Pak Telecom Mobile Limited after completion of due and transparent process. This Project has a great significance considering it the first ever lot of Federally Administered Tribal Areas; encompassing Khyber Agency, FR Kohat, FR Peshawar, Kohat, Karak and Hangu. This Project benefits an un-served population of about 1.7 million, covering 503 unserved Mauzas and an unserved area of 8,434 sq kms at a subsidy value of Pak Rs. 1.9 billion.

In the important area relating to boosting demand for broadband services and their utility for the economy, The USF Board also approved the implementation of a project for creating an e-commerce portal for the empowerment of artisans across Pakistan. This will be the pioneer and inaugural E-commerce Portal of Pakistan providing a platform and a centralized internet based market place for various products of diverse groups working in different sectors of Pakistan. The initial categories of SMEs and artisans selected for e-commerce enablement include leather, furniture, carpets and apparel. Through this project artisanal craft will strengthen ultimately preserving the culture, creating cohesion, digitally enabling the artisans and increasing the GDP of Pakistan and will be important step towards Financial Inclusion. The Minister emphasized that demand side measures that touch the life of citizens through improved utility and opportunity need to form the heart of the USF program going forward. She instructed the USF Co. to plan their future programs accordingly.

Other important matters significantly related administration and HR matters were also deliberated in the meeting. Board members including the Secretary IT; Mr. Rizwan Bashir Khan, Member Telecom; Mr. Mudassar Hussain,  VP ISP’s; Mr. Azfar Manzoor, President and CEO PTCL; Mr. Daniel Ritz and the senior management of USF Co also attended the meeting.

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