Islamabad, July 12: The Higher Education Commission (HEC) has facilitated a total of 63 universities with blanket Wi-Fi connectivity under its Smart University project so far.
HEC spokesperson Aisha Ikram revealed that the HEC Smart University project is proceeding well ahead of its schedule and within its approved budget. It is one of the fastest executed programmes in the Asia Pacific region.
The project was approved in 2015, at a total cost of Rs. 2.4 billion. There is no change in the contract cost since then. Work on the project started in 2016, and is scheduled to be completed in eight years, i.e. 2024, she added.
The allocation is to be spent in eight years, and not in the first two or three years of the project. However, the main deployment of the equipment (Phase-I of the project) will be completed in 2019. It is fully on schedule and all targets will be met.
The aim of the project is to equip university campuses with blanket WiFi coverage, in order to enable the deployment of other smart instruments as needed. The project has provided a suite of important services to thousands of students and faculty members across the country. This includes blanket wifi coverage, student authentication, guest WiFi portals for visitors, and eduroam (a secure, world-wide roaming access service available in thousands of locations across over 100 countries worldwide).
Extended To University Hostels
Due to the overwhelmingly positive response from universities, the scope of coverage was expanded to include hostels as well. This was done before the launch of Phase-I, and with the consent of all stakeholders including a high-level steering committee comprised of Vice Chancellors, senior government officials, and higher management of HEC.
63 Universities Done
So far, a total of 63 universities have been facilitated with blanket Wi-Fi connectivity. This has been done with the fulfilment of all legal, codal, and procedural formalities for contracts and payments. HEC has strict rules regarding compliance with legal provisions. No payments can be made without proper pre-audit. Any delays in the execution result in the imposition of financial penalties on the providers as per contract. The contractors are required to obtain acceptance certificates from universities on completion of installation.