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FATA to get internet access for the first time

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News Analysis |

Through the Broadband for Sustainable Development Programme, the Ministry of IT and Telecom has been working to provide telecom services to the un-served areas across the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). A recent agreement has been signed between service providers and authorities to provide broadband internet facility in far-flung areas to boost socio-economic development of 5,896 villages of FATA.

The spokesman of the ministry told a news agency earlier this week that this programme was re-crafted to include the broadband equivalent data (internet) services as a compulsory component and for new projects, and powering of telecommunication sites through solar energy was also made a part of each project.

The Prime Minister also mentioned the initiative by the Universal Service Fund for the provision of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for girls and delivery of IT and e-services in un-served and under-served areas.

The Ministry of Information and Telecommunication would utilize funds being generated under universal service fund (USF) for providing IT and telecom services to un-served and far-flung areas on a priority, he added. He further said that through the project, 3G mobile broadband services would be provided in the areas of Mohmand, Bajaur and Malakand, having a population of 1,599,500 residing in 684 mauzas.

While giving details, he said that 3G mobile broadband services were being provided in the areas of Khyber Agency, FR Kohat (Tribal Area Adjacent Kohat), FR Peshawar, Kohat, Karak and Hangu, and the areas consist of a population of 1,751,600 residing in 503 mauzas. Minister for Information and Telecommunication Anusha Rehman expressed her pleasure on the pace of affairs. The minister further said that it was a proud moment that now people living in FATA would also be able to have access to 3G services like other parts of the country.

Read more: The FATA conundrum

In January this year, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi addressed a ceremony in Islamabad at a local hotel for the contract signing of Broadband for Sustainable Development Projects in FATA; Khyber, Mohmand Agency, and D.I.Khan that were announced earlier that month. The Prime Minister has ordered broadband access all across the remote and tribal areas to facilitate the common man and to spread Internet outreach, GVS earlier reported.

A recent agreement has been signed between service providers and authorities to provide broadband internet facility in far-flung areas to boost socio-economic development of 5,896 villages of FATA.

The Prime Minister also applauded the existing initiative and said that it would help bridge the gap between the urban and rural areas by providing modern facilities to the people at their doorsteps. The project for provision of telecom services to the un-served areas was being implemented by the Universal Service Fund under the Ministry of Information Technology.

After the launch of the 3G and 4G services, it has provided Internet service to 5,896 Mauzas. The new contracts would enable it to extend these services to Khyber, Mohmand and D.I.Khan at a cost of Rs. 3.5 billion and facilitate over four million people in 1,187 Mauzas. He had tasked the Ministry of Information Technology to complete the project in the next four months and provide connectivity at affordable rates.

Read more: FATA merger: Jamaat-e-Islami gives Government deadline

The Prime Minister stated that e-services were a rapidly evolving field and could provide health, education and business opportunities to the people in the remotest areas of the country. The Prime Minister also said that at a later stage it could also help in e-voting and help cut down the cost of holding elections.

The Prime Minister also mentioned the initiative by the Universal Service Fund for the provision of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for girls and delivery of IT and e-services in un-served and under-served areas.


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