The Universal Service Fund (USF) awarded a contract worth approximately Rs. 555 million to Telenor for providing High-Speed Mobile Broadband services in the Nowshera, Mardan, Swabi, and Charsadda districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Federal Minister for Information Technology (IT) and Telecommunication, Syed Amin ul Haque, and Federal Minister for Defense, Pervez Khattak, witnessed the contract signing ceremony held at the USF Head Office on Thursday. The contract was signed by Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary, CEO of USF, and Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO of Telenor Pakistan.

The Federal Secretary for IT & Telecommunication and Chairman USF Board, Dr. Muhammad Sohail Rajput, and Member Telecom, Muhammad Omar Malik, and Senior Officials were also present at the ceremony.

 

Chief Guest of the ceremony, Syed Amin Ul Haque, Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication, said,

We have not made claims and promises, but through practical steps, have done what was never imagined before in the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication. The proof is that in the last financial year, we have contracted 25 projects worth over PKR 31 billion for the provision of high-speed broadband services and laying of optical fiber cable in unserved and underserved areas of the country. While the number of projects has been increased to 30 in the current financial year, this process will not stop here, rather the performance of all the institutions under the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication for the fulfillment of Digital Pakistan vision is becoming an example with each passing day.

Syed Amin Ul Haque said,

Mobile operators provide networking and broadband services in cities, but in scattered or sparsely populated areas, it is difficult for them to work from a business point of view. In such cases, the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication, through USF, not only identifies such areas but also pays subsidy that covers 80 to 90 percent of the project costs. We believe that the residents of remote areas are entitled to high-speed mobile internet as much as city dwellers.

Moreover, he congratulated the residents of Charsadda, Swabi, Nowshera, Mardan and said that they would soon have the best mobile network and fastest internet service to connect themselves to the digital world. He also added that the project will be completed within the stipulated time.

 

While addressing the ceremony, Federal Minister for Defense, Pervez Khattak, an elected member of PTI from NA-25, Nowshera, said that the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa districts are no less than any other big city in terms of capabilities. The high-speed mobile broadband services in Charsadda, Swabi, Mardan, and Nowshera will help the youth of these districts in the field of education and serve the country and the nation. Further, he added that the role of the Ministry of IT and Telecommunication in fulfilling the Prime Minister’s Digital Pakistan vision is significant and commendable, for which Federal Minister, Syed Amin Ul Haque, deserves congratulations.

Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO of Telenor Pakistan, expressed,

Connectivity has fast become a fundamental need in the digital world today, and we strive to bring it to every Pakistani’s life. Together with USF, Telenor Pakistan has signed a contract to bring high-speed mobile internet to the underserved regions of the Nowshera, Mardan, Charsada, and Swabi districts.

While talking about empowering communities throughout the country, he further added,

As a nation at the cusp of digitalization, we are honored to play our role in bringing opportunities that connect and empower our people while breaking socio-economic barriers through mobile technology.

 

Earlier, Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary, CEO of USF, in his welcome address, said, “Without the constant support of Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication, Syed Amin ul Haque, it would not have been possible for USF to launch 25 projects in last fiscal year. As a result of the encouragement, we are going to launch 30 more projects in current financial year. This project in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will benefit an unserved population of 0.16 million in 70 unserved mauzas, thereby covering an unserved area of 778 sq. km. of Nowshera, Mardan, Swabi and Charsadda districts. I assure you that the project will be completed in a short span of 16 months.”