Prime Minister Imran Khan stressed upon promotion of information technology, cyber connectivity and digitalization because Pakistan’s future was linked with the adoption of these latest modes of science and technology. He was addressing at a signing ceremony for the award of Rs 1.28 billion contracts by Universal Service Fund (USF) to cellular companies for the provision of voice and high-speed mobile broadband data services in areas of Balochistan and Sindh.
The contract signed between USF and Jazz will cover the areas of Khairpur, Sukkur and Ghotki in Sindh, whereas the areas under the contract signed between USF and Ufone include Bolan, Jhal Magsi, Ziarat and Kalat in Baluchistan. The contracts were signed by Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary, CEO USF with Aamir Ibrahim, CEO Jazz and Rashid Khan, CEO Ufone.
Jazz Promises Provision of high-quality Broadband to around 2 million People in Sindh
Terming the signing of contracts as ‘good omen’ for the country, the prime minister observed that it was in line with their government’s vision of uplifting the most backward, poor and deprived areas of Sindh besides different impoverished areas of Baluchistan through a network of internet connectivity. Imran Khan regretted that lopsided development in the country had affected these areas.
“Jazz has won a competitive subsidy bid project under the Next Generation Broadband for Sustainable Development Program of the Universal Service Fund (USF) targeting the provision of high-speed 4G internet to around 2 million citizens residing across more than 510 unserved villages of Ghotki, Sukkur, and Khairpur districts. We are always trying to contribute to the nation and help them stay connected”, said, Amir Ibrahim, CEO Jazz.
He said the MoU would lead to wider connectivity in these remote areas, thus paving a way for development and prosperity. He cited the construction of Karakoram highway in Gilgit Baltistan which had connected inaccessible areas and helped in improving the standards of living and educational facilities.
The prime minister said majority of the people in those areas also wanted provision of e-learning and distance learning facilities through the use of mobile phone services.
The adult literacy could be achieved through the spread of the internet system. Such connectivity would be vital for the fifth industrial revolution, he opined. He said Pakistan had the second-largest young population in the world which possessed ‘a vibrant potential’, and stressed that IT ministry should work further in tapping the IT skills. The prime minister said setting up IT parks was also a significant step by the ministry as it would have positive impacts upon the country’s exports.
Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Syed Amin ul Haq said his Ministry through USF was committed to bridging the digital divide by development, deployment and uptake of Information Communications Technology (ICT) initiatives to make a real difference in people’s lives.
He informed that through the contracts, around 2.4 million people in 1146 mauzas of Bolan, Jhal Magsi, Ziarat, Kalat, Khairpur, Sukkur and Ghotki districts would be provided High-Speed Mobile Broadband services, covering an unserved area of 34,660 sq.km.
He said the projects had the potential to impact important areas such as healthcare, communications, agriculture and transportation. Syed Amin ul Haq said the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication would continue to undertake more challenging and productive programmes in future including the establishment of IT Parks, including the ones to be opened in Islamabad and Gilgit in near future.
The project of manufacturing and assembling of 3G and 4G mobile phones in the county as approved by Cabinet and Economic Coordination Committee is also in the offing, while the launch of the triple bundle in Gilgit Baltistan is in completion phase, he said.