Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf directed the Universal Service Fund (USF) to further accelerate the pace of providing digital services in the un-served and under-served areas of the country to reduce the digital divide between the urban and rural areas.
The Prime Minister issued these instructions while presiding over the 29th Board of Director’s meeting of USF at the Prime Minister’s House today. The meeting was convened to discuss the on-going projects and other matters relating to USF.
The Prime Minister said that the Rural Telecom Broadband and Optic Fibre Connectivity Programmes launched by USF was playing an important role in spreading these technologies in the lesser developed areas of the country. These programmes will play a pivotal role in reducing of digital divide between rural and urban areas of Pakistan, promote entrepreneurship and create jobs and new vistas at tehsil and union council levels, the Prime Minister added.
The Prime Minister said that the present coalition government attaches great importance to providing IT services in the rural areas so that they cab be brought at par with developed regions of the country.
The Prime Minister was apprised that under the Rural Telecom Programme, almost 3643 previously unserved villages have been provided telecom services throughout the country. The Prime Minister was also informed that under the Broadband Programme, 260 previously unserved towns now have about 412073 USF funded Broadband connections. In Optic Fibre Connectivity Programme, more than 4217 kms of Optic Fibre cables have been laid connecting 102 unserved tehsils in the country.
The Prime Minister 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 and Holy Family Hospital Rawalpindi have been connected with 12 remote sites to set up three tele-medicines networks.