ISLAMABAD: The Universal Service Fund (USF) has awarded contracts for two Optic Fiber Cable (OFC) projects, worth approximately Rs3 billion, to Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL).
The announcement for contracts, aimed at providing connectivity in Ghotki, Kashmore, Sukkur and Khairpur districts of interior Sindh, was made at a ceremony held at Karachi Governor House on Monday.
Sindh Governor Imran Ismail, who was the chief guest of the ceremony, inaugurated the projects alongside Federal IT and Telecommunication Minister Syed Aminul Haque. The contracts were signed by USF CEO Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary and PTCL Acting CEO and Group Chief Financial Officer Nadeem Khan. Senior officials from the Sindh government, Ministry of IT and Telecommunication, USF and PTCL were also present on the occasion.
Congratulating the IT minister, USF and PTCL on the award of these projects, Governor Imran Ismail said, “Today’s event marks another landmark achieved in the history of Pakistan and will go a long way in taking the developmental work being done by the Government of Pakistan to a greater level.”
The governor noted that the projects have been designed to connect 372 educational institutions, 170 health facilities, 217 government offices and 131 banks within five-kilometre radius of the node.
Meanwhile, IT Minister Syed Aminul Haque lauded the performance of his ministry and its affiliated organisations, saying that the ministry was engaged in constructing IT parks across the country, besides working on data centers, policy on cloud, cyber security and manufacturing of smartphones.
He termed USF projects that aimed at providing broadband services and laying optical fiber cables in rural and remote areas of the country “a testament of good performance”. Summarising these key initiatives and projects, he mentioned the tribal areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Ex-FATA) and the underserved areas of Balochistan that have witnessed record development projects worth Rs8.81 billion.
“These projects comprise broadband and optical fiber cables in the underserved and remote areas of Chaghi, Nowshki, Gwadar, Kech and Panjgur, whereas various other projects have been approved for Jhelum and Chakwal, covering an area of 86,773 sq km. A total of Rs4.15 billion is being invested for the provision of voice and broadband services for approximately 88,477 people,” he added.
In his address, PTCL Acting CEO and Group Chief Financial Officer Nadeem Khan said, “Being the national carrier, PTCL is the backbone of the country’s communication infrastructure and primary internet service provider. We are glad to collaborate with USF for establishment and operation of optical fiber connectivity in Ghotki, Kashmore, Sukkur and Khairpur districts. Aligned with the vision of a Digital Pakistan, we are committed to play our role in supporting the underserved communities and empower them for a better future.”
While sharing his views at the ceremony, USF CEO Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary stated, “I take the opportunity to say here that all these achievements have only been possible due to constant efforts of the Government of Pakistan. Federal IT and Telecommunication minister and secretary have been torchbearers of the vision for a ‘Digital Pakistan’ and have enabled USF to transform the lives of people of the country.”