The Board of Directors (BoD) of Universal Service Fund (USF) has approved two projects of Next Generation Broadband for Sustainable Development (NG-BSD) with an estimated cost of over Rs. 360 million.

The Federal Secretary Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui chaired the 66th Board of Directors (BoD) meeting of Universal Service Fund (USF) at Universal Service Fund Office on Friday.

The meeting approved the contract signing of the project ‘NG-BSD Rahimyar Khan Lot’ which encompasses Khanpur, Liaquat Pur, Rahim Yar Khan and Sadiqabad tehsils with an estimated cost of Rs. 198 million. The project benefits a total unserved population of approximately 1.2 million covering 741 unserved mauzas and an approximate unserved area of 8,591 Sq. km.

The board also approved the contract signing of the project ‘NG-BSD Bahawalnagar Lot’ which covers Bahawalnagar, Chishtian, Fort Abbas, Haroonabad & Minchianabad tehsils with an estimated cost of Rs. 166 million. The project benefits approximately 0.9 million people and covers 505 unserved mauzas and an approximate unserved area of 6,127 Sq. km.

Secretary IT ministry emphasized the importance of utilizing technology to help the country achieve broader national aims such as improved health and education outcomes and equal access to opportunities for citizens nationwide.

He added that these projects will greatly empower the people living in South Punjab who were deprived of all these facilities earlier. Furthermore, Siddiqui also appreciated USF’s vision to bridge the connectivity and socio-economic development gap between urban and rural communities.

Major General (R) Amir Azeem Bajwa, Chairman PTA; Shabahat Ali Shah, Executive Director, NITB; Irfan Wahab, CEO-Telenor Cluster Head for Emerging Asia and Nominee of Mobile Cellular Operators; Imran Akhtar Shah, VP for Government Sales, Supernet Pvt Ltd and Nominee of Data Licensees; Rashid Khan, CEO PTCL and Nominee of Fixed Line Operators; Kaukab Iqbal, Chairman, Consumer Association of Pakistan and Nominee of Consumer Group and management of USF Co. attended the meeting.

The board members also discussed key priorities over the upcoming year in line with the federal government’s objectives, focusing on an ICT enabling environment, capacity building and infrastructure development. The board thanked the Secretary IT for his support to achieve all the objectives and targets of USF.

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