The Universal Service Fund (USF) has awarded a contract worth approximately Rs. 154 million to Jazz to provide High-Speed Mobile Broadband services in the Multan and Khanewal districts of South Punjab.
The contracts were signed by the CEO of the USF, Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary, and the CEO of Jazz, Aamir Ibrahim, in Islamabad on Wednesday.
The federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication (IT&T), Syed Amin Ul Haque, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, witnessed the contract signing ceremony. Additionally, the federal Secretary for IT & Telecommunication and the Chairman of the USF Board, Dr. Muhammad Sohail Rajput; the Parliamentary Secretary, Zain Qureshi; Member Telecom, Muhammad Umar Malik; Member IC Ajmal Awan; and other senior officials attended the ceremony.
While addressing the attendees, Minister Syed Amin Ul Haque said that MoITT has contracted projects worth approximately Rs. 6.5 billion through the USF to provide high-speed internet to 3.8 million people in South Punjab. These include six high-speed mobile broadband projects and three optic fiber cable projects.
According to him, under these projects, “we are spending a total of PKR 708 million for provision of high-speed broadband services in three districts of Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, and Bahawalnagar. About 2.6 million people living in 846 villages will benefit from this. Similarly, in Dera Ghazi Khan Division, four districts; DG Khan, Layyah, Muzaffargarh, and Rajanpur, PKR 141 million is being spent, while PKR 4.47 billion is being spent on three projects related to the laying of optical fiber cable. With the completion of these projects, an area of about 2, 000 sq. km will be connected with OFC. More than 25% of work has been done on broadband services projects. Completion of these projects will provide the fastest broadband services to 393 villages with a population of over 0.85 million”.
While addressing the ceremony, Minister Qureshi said that he was pleasantly surprised to hear the performance of the Ministry of IT which is working day and night for the fulfillment of the Prime Minister’s Digital Pakistan vision. He thanked Minister Haque, for initiating the development projects in South Punjab and said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will provide all possible assistance and support for the promotion of the IT industry and the showcasing of Pakistani IT products around the world because the Ministry of IT is at the forefront of the sectors through which numerous job opportunities and the country’s economy can be strengthened.
The CEO of Jazz shared his views on the development and said, “Jazz has invested US$ 462 million during the last two years mainly to expand its 4G footprint in rural and semi-urban areas. This is in line with our mission to bridge the digital divide and to collaborate with the Government of Pakistan in helping realize the Digital Pakistan vision. Today’s contract signing is a testament of our commitment to creating ICT-led socioeconomic opportunities for the masses”.
Earlier, during his welcome address, the CEO of the USF said, “The USF is committed in its resolve to empower the marginalized communities of Pakistan. This project will benefit an unserved population of 0.48 million in 170 unserved mauzas, thereby covering an unserved area of 1,323 sq. km. of Multan and Khanewal districts. The project will be completed in 12 months”.