STAFF REPORT ISB: The Universal Service Fund (USF) has provided 543,839 broadband connections during one year under a programme launched to accommodate remote areas of the country.

Additionally, the other objective of specifically running a broadband programme is to increase proliferation.

“Several educational broadband centres at higher secondary schools have been established under this programme,” said an official of the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications.

He said that subsidies are also being provided to telecom operators to support the telecom infrastructure development in remote and under-served areas which are not commercially viable otherwise.

Similarly, USF has been tasked by the ministry to expedite the process of laying of optical fiber across Pakistan which will support infrastructure requirements necessary for proliferation of broadband services.

The ministry also plans to establish 500 universal telecentres across the four provinces of Pakistan. The distribution of telecentres among provinces and regions will be as per National Finance Commission Award formula.

The project is in its final stages of planning and will be implemented in phases starting next year. National ICT RandD Fund has been tasked to fund projects aimed at producing local content and relevant applications.

With regard to next generation mobile services (3G/4G), licences have been issued under which mobile broadband proliferation is expected to be significantly enhanced.

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