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The Universal Service Fund (USF) has awarded contract worth Rs 92 million to Jazz for providing hi-speed broadband in Kurram Lot (Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa).

Federal Secretary Ministry of IT and Telecommunication Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui inaugurated the Next Generation Broadband for Sustainable Development project in Kurram (Tehsils of FR Kurram, Lower Kurram and Upper Kurram) at Ministry of IT & Telecom on Monday.

The contract was signed by CEO USF, Haaris Mahmood Chaudhry with Chief Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Jazz, Syed Fakhar Ahmed. The secretary IT, while addressing, stated that the focus of the USF was to bridge the digital divide.

He said that during the current times of coronavirus pandemic, the Ministry of IT and Telecom was ensuring that broadband connectivity played an optimum role in dealing with this crisis.

He further said that coronavirus had completely altered the global landscape and "we will be adopting an aggressive approach through the future projects of USF for providing hi-speed broadband."

The secretary IT added that it was need of the hour that all stakeholders worked together to fight against Covid-19 by facilitating people of Pakistan. He also said that with the Digital Pakistan vision set in motion, the strategic role of the USF in providing connectivity to all Pakistanis becomes even more significant than before.

The CEO-USF, Haaris Mahmood Chaudhry, said that Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, Secretary IT Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui and USF Board of Directors had been torchbearers of the vision for a "Digital Pakistan".

He further said that they had given USF tremendous support, without which all this could not be achieved.

He further added that during the outbreak of coronavirus in Pakistan, the USF with these projects was making sure that connectivity could enable people to continue carrying out their day-to-day activities.

Through the project in Kurram, broadband coverage will be provided in 224 mauzas in Kurram covering an approximate un-served area of 2,980 sq km.

Syed Fakhar Ahmed, Chief Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Jazz said "Our collaboration with USF is in line with our agenda of bridging the prevalent digital divide.

This is why, the project has special significance for us and in due time over 0.44 million residents of these areas will have access to the country's fastest mobile broadband. Jazz is looking forward to assisting these people in unlocking their potential in an increasingly interconnected world."

Senior officials of the Ministry of IT, USF and Jazz were also present on the occasion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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