Ministry of IT and Telecom to provide broadband in Balochistan
Modern broadband facilities will be given to 196,177 individuals in 269 Mauzas (39,434 sq km) in Balochistan. The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunications (MoIT) would provide the facility of broadband in Balochistan.
The areas are facilitated for sustainable development under the Universal Service Fund (USF). It is an MoIT subsidiary which has approved a Rs 2.3 billion Awaran-Lasbela broadband project. It covers 12.8% of the area and about 6.5% of Balochistan’s population too. A meeting was held recently with the Minister for IT and Telecom Anusha Rehman where existing projects were reviewed. 50 more computer labs were also added for establishment in Women Empowerment Centers, Bait Ul Maal (PBM) for girls’ ICT program. In phase two it will also provide broadband to women of low income.
The USF targets
The USF targets to reach all the under-served and un-served areas of Balochistan through telephone and eServices (RTeS) till 2018. Even though there is massive telecom growth in telecom but still many areas remain un-served. The telecom sector is the most important one for speedy development particularly for rural areas. 1.5% of telecom licensed companies contribute to the country’s revenue through the USF.
Rs 13 billion are approved by the USF board of directors for 2016-2017 for ensuring telecom and internet coverage to these areas. Four new projects worth Rs 3 billion will start in 2016-17 for IT and telephone services extension in far areas. Besides this, Rs 9.52 billion will be spent on existing projects in the un-served areas of all four provinces. Moreover, new lines worth Rs 2.43 billion will also be laid for broadband in Balochistan. Areas like Kharaan, Washuk, Dera Bugti, Kohistan, and Waziristan are included for the financial year.
Furthermore, Rs 11.94 million will be kept for telephone service provision in rural areas for the fiscal year. The USF will also establish 500 tele-centers, including 30 already established for one stop telecommunication services. These facilities are provided to 310 under served towns (5500 kms) fiber optics till now.