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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication through the Universal Service Fund (USF) awarded projects contract worth around Rs300 million to Jazz for providing high-speed mobile broadband services on M3 and M5 Motorways.

The Federal Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication (MoITT), Syed Aminul Haque, and Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed witnessed the contract-signing ceremony, here on Wednesday.

The contract was signed by Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary, CEO of the USF with Syed Fakhar Ahmed, Chief Corporate Regulatory Affairs Officer and Mudassir Hussain Vice President of Jazz.

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

Saeed and Haque both criticised the Sindh government over what they called its failure to provide basic amenities to the people.

Saeed said, “I have just returned from Sindh. I have felt their pain. Let alone the internet connectivity, people and animals drink water from the same pond.” He said that schools were being used as barns for sheep and goats.

The minister for communications said that the project will not only provide connectivity to the commuters on the motorways but also enable immediate communication and rescue in case of an emergency.

The present government is working relentlessly to provide maximum facilities to the citizens of Pakistan in order to bring ease into their lives.

He said the revenues of the National Highways Authority (NHA) and Pakistan Post have also increased due to the use of latest technology.

Haque said that through the M3 project, the USF will be providing high-speed mobile broadband access to 54.92 km of unserved road segment that passes through the districts of Sheikhupura, Nankana Sahib, Faisalabad, Toba Tek Singh and Khanewal. This will not only enable the commuters on the motorway but will also provide facilities to the residents of adjoining districts and villages. Further, through the second project M5, high-speed mobile broadband coverage will be provided to 78.85km of unserved road segment that passes through the districts of Multan, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Kashmore, Ghotki and Sukkur.

The cost of awarded contracts is approximately Rs140 million for M3 project and Rs154 million for M5 project and both projects will be completed in a span of 12 months. Through the USF’s Motorways and National Highways program, 1,929km of road segment length has been provided with broadband coverage. We are committed to providing uninterrupted mobile network on all major highways of the country and we are moving fast in this regard, the minister added.

The federal minister for IT, on the occasion, slammed the Sindh government and said that the Local Government Act in Sindh is a ‘black law’, which we rejected. Where are the trillions of rupees of the NFC and annual development funds of the province? He said that Sindh government get Rs850 billion per annum. There is not a single union council of the province which can be called a model. The Sindh government is leading the people of the province to disaster. The Ministry of IT has launched the IT and telecommunication projects worth Rs8.5 billion for Sindh without any discrimination.

Haque said that IT export target of 3.5 billion dollars has been set for the current fiscal year. He said that Sindh receives a huge amount of money on the account of the NFC. He urged Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah to move beyond Sehwan Sharif and Nawabshah and focus on Karachi, as well.

Haaris Mahmood Chaudhary, CEO of USF said that the USF is committed in its resolve to empower the marginalized communities of Pakistan. These projects will provide broadband access to 134km of unserved road segments on M3 and M5 and will be completed in 12 months.”

Aamir Ibrahim, CEO, Jazz said in a message that Jazz has invested $560 million during the last two years mainly to expand its 4G footprint in rural and semi-urban areas. This is in line with our mission to bridge the digital divide and to collaborate with the government of Pakistan in helping realize the Digital Pakistan vision.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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