The government has decided to review the need and modalities of Universal Service Fund (USF) intervention in the smart handset market place, besides identifying hurdles & impediments hampering the digital inclusion in Pakistan, it is learnt.
Official sources revealed that government has decided to determine the need and feasibility of USF subsidy program for handset–whether such subsidy should be given directly to an operator or in the form of an assembling subsidy to the local industry.
As per the plan, a comprehensive study of existing digital landscape in Pakistan and globally that promise innovative and cost-effective delivery of advanced digital services to rural un/underserved population of Pakistan would be carried out.
USF is Looking for a consultation Firm for Enhancing Digital Inclusion In Pakistan
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are considered the utmost essential for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SGD). The three pillars of sustainable development – economic development, social inclusion and environmental protection require ICT and Telecom as a catalyst.
Sources said that digital services play a key role in the adoption of ICT services. ICT with enabling digital platforms to deliver social and economic benefits to the masses, thus break the poverty cycle and eliminate social divide. Digital Platforms facilitate communities, businesses, and governments to achieve economic and social growth. To realize these benefits, governments around the world are implementing comprehensive national plans and highly focused Broadband Programs and projects coupled with strategies that ensure availability and affordability of Digital Platforms and Services.
USF has invited international and national consulting firms/companies for submission of proposals for consulting services to conduct a study for digital inclusion in Pakistan. The firm should have the experience to conduct a comprehensive study for digital inclusion in remote and rural areas on the adoption of digital services including e-Services such as e-Commerce, e-Finance, e-Health, e-Learning, e-Agriculture etc.
USF has decided to hire the services of an experienced and competent consulting firm to:
- Conduct a study of digital initiatives and strategies that can enhance digital inclusion of urban, semi-urban and rural areas
- Recommend digital platforms and solutions that are globally proven in helping the underprivileged populations adopt a digital lifestyle with a known impact on socio-economic indicators.
- Propose Digital initiatives and services that are sustainable, suitable for Pakistan and help bridge the digital divided
- Review the need and modalities of a USF intervention in the smart handset market place. For the purpose of this consultancy, the focus areas are Urban, Sem Urban and Rural areas of Pakistan.
The consultant would be required to recommend for new/proposed Digital Projects for the next 3 years based on: Identify a menu of 5 USF Co projects that can be launched within the 1year horizon. Ensure that;
- compliance with USF mandate (or the need to change the mandate) and incorporation of lessons learned.
- include constraints of the process (Public Procurement Rules, AGP Audits) while providing the recommendation.
- addressing regulation and compliance challenges (Province vs Federal Domain, Pakistan Telecom Authority, Law Enforcing Agencies, Financial Compliance etc.).