USF awards Optic Fiber Cable contracts worth PKR 3 Billion for interior Sindh to PTCL

KARACHI ( STAFF REPORT )

The Universal Service Fund (USF) awarded two Optic Fiber Cable (OFC) project contracts worth approximately PKR 3 Billion to Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) for providing connectivity in Ghotki, Kashmore, Sukkur & Khairpur districts at a special ceremony held at Governor House, Karachi. Chief Guest of the ceremony, Imran Ismail, Governor of Sindh inaugurated the projects accompanied by Syed Amin Ul Haque, Federal Minister for Information Technology (IT) and Telecommunication. The contracts were signed by Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary, CEO, USF and Nadeem Khan, Acting CEO & Group Chief Financial Officer, PTCL. Senior officials of the Government of Sindh, Ministry of IT and Telecommunication, USF and PTCL were also present at the ceremony. On the occasion, Imran Ismail, Governor of Sindh 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 Government of Pakistan to a greater level. I also take today’s event as an opportunity to assure all of you that with consistent efforts and spirits, Ministry of IT and Telecommunication will continue to undertake more challenging and productive programs in the future, for the promotion of IT and Telecommunication related services. I would like to congratulate Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Amin ul Haque, the dynamic teams of USF & PTCL on award of these projects that have been designed to connect 372 Educational Institutions, 170 Health Facilities, 217 Government Offices and 131 Banks within 5 KM radius of the node. I wish them all the very best for implementation of project objectives.” On the occasion, Syed Amin Ul Haque, Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication said: “I believe that Imran Khan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, realizes the importance of information technology for the country as he envisioned Digital Pakistan and proved his commitment to turn this vision into reality. It affirms that when you have support from the premier, even bigger challenges can be turned into opportunities. With this renewed commitment, we took charge of this Ministry and of course, the new way of working to bring instrumental change was not visible to the people at the start of our journey as they did not expect such positive results so soon. However, we have proven ourselves as Pakistan Software Board’s export remittances has reached record level.” Syed Amin ul Haque lauded the great performance of Ministry of IT and Telecommunication and its affiliated organizations. Moreover, IT parks are being created across the country, along with Data Centers, policy on Cloud, cyber security, manufacturing of Smart phones and much more. The Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication highlighted that Universal Service Fund’s innumerable projects of providing broadband services and laying optical fiber cables in rural and remote areas of the country is a testament of their undeniable performance. Summarizing these key initiatives and projects, he mentioned the tribal areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Ex-FATA) and the under-served areas of Balochistan that have witnessed record development projects worth PKR 8.81 Billion. These projects comprise of broadband and optical fiber cables in the under-served 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 PKR 4. 15 Billion is being invested for the provision of voice and broadband services for approx. 88,477 people. The Federal Minister emphasized that these Information and Communications Technology (ICT) projects ensure that we are concerned about the well-being of every citizen of Pakistan without any bias based on language, region or province. He reiterated his support and commitment for every resident of Pakistan. Furthermore, he added “If we had bias, we would never have initiated projects for Sindh including cities like Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Khairpur, Larkana, Ghotki and Kashmore, however, these are all our cities, being part of Pakistan, and we endeavor to provide the latest facilities to our people for a digitally connected world.” Speaking at the ceremony, Nadeem Khan, Acting CEO & Group Chief Financial Officer, PTCL said: “Being the national carrier, PTCL is the backbone of country’s communication infrastructure and primary internet service provider. We serve people of Pakistan from large metropolitan cities to remote rural areas. 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, Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary, CEO, USF said: “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 Minister and Secretary for IT and Telecommunication have been torchbearers of the vision for a “Digital Pakistan” and have enabled USF to transform the lives of people of the country. They have given us tremendous cooperation, help and support, without which all this could not be achieved. I also want to congratulate the very hard-working team of PTCL, who are being awarded the projects worth PKR 03 Billion that aim at laying of 1,078 km of optic fiber cable to connect 140 unserved Union Councils & Towns, benefitting a population of around 4.7 Million people. I am also very proud of my team at USF who has done its best to make these projects successful.” Moreover, these projects will not only provide a digital highway for seamless broadband coverage to people residing in Ghotki, Kashmore, Sukkur and Khairpur Districts but also improve the lives of people, create job opportunities for them, empower local communities, along with women, who can reap the benefits.

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