STAFF REPORT IBD: The Universal Service Fund (USF) has been directed to further accelerate the pace of providing digital services in the un-served and under-served areas of the country in order to reduce the digital divide between the urban and rural areas. The Prime Minister of Pakistan issued these instructions while presiding over the USF Board of Directors meeting held here recently with main focus of the ongoing projects and other matters relating to the Fund.

He said that the Rural Telecom Broadband and Optic Fibre Connectivity Programmes launched by USF is playing an important role in spreading these technologies in the lesser developed areas of the country.

The PM was apprised that under the Rural Telecom Programme, almost 3643 previously unserved villages have been provided telecom services throughout the country. Under the Broadband Programme, 260 previously unserved towns now have about 412073 USF funded Broadband connections. In Optic Fibre Connectivity Programme, over 4217 kms of Optic Fibre cables have been laid connecting 102 unserved tehsils in the country.

He was also informed that after the completion of USF pilot project, tele-medicine centres will be set up around large cities like Karachi, Rawalpindi and Multan, Nishtar Medical College Multan.

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