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ISLAMABAD: The Universal Service Fund (USF) Policy Committee on Monday approved annual budget of Rs11.376 billion for financial year 2020-2021 for the fund to carry out various connectivity projects in un-served and underserved areas of the country.

Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Aminul Haque chaired 39th meeting of the USF Policy Committee meeting, here on Monday.

Federal Secretary Ministry of IT Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui was also present in the meeting.

The meeting approved the minutes of the 38th meeting of the USF Policy Committee meeting.

The meeting also gave approval for the USF annual budget of Rs11.376 billion for financial year 2020-2021.

The USF Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Haaris Mahmood Chaudhry, briefed the chair about the USF projects for providing broadband services in unserved and underserved areas of the country.

According to documents, the USF has spent around Rs66.044 billion to extend cellular, broadband internet, fibre optics and other telecommunication services to un-served or underserved areas but some areas in Balochistan as well as South Waziristan and Kurram districts of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa still lack access to basic telephony and mobile broadband services.

The USF was created in 2007 to stretch cellular, broadband internet, fibre optics and other telecommunication services to un-served or underserved areas.

All telecom companies have been contributing 1.5 percent of their revenues to the USF.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020