The Universal Service Fund (USF) has spent around Rs 68.186 billion to spread cellular, broadband internet, fiber optics & other telecommunication services to un-served areas like South Waziristan as well as Balochistan and Kurram areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa yet need access to primary telephony and Mobile broadband settings. All telecom firms have been giving 1.5 percent of their profits to the USF. According to officials, challenges that the USF faced in giving telecom services to such areas involved rough grounds, scanty culture, severe climate, absence of electricity, bad logistics, and safety approval, with other localized difficulties.

The government backs schemes in areas that do not help the business purposes of the telecom workers. According to reports, of the total Rs68.186 billion payment, Ufone took an important part of payment i.e. Rs18.219 billion (26.72%), Telenor, Rs18.184 billion (26.67%), PTCL, Rs16.134 billion (23.6%), Wateen, Rs4.847 (7.11%), Zong, Rs5.613 billion (8.23%), World Call, Rs1.273 billion (1.87%), and Jazz, Rs2.25 billion (3.3%).

Telecommunication coverage was almost 44% before USF-2006-07, which spread around 74% since the creation of USF. The official said broadband for sustainable advancement program under the USF was created to give telecom services to the un-served mauzas across the country. For brand-new plans, the powering of telecommunication sites through solar energy was also made a part of each project. An official said that the government may improve the USF rules and extend its range by adding e-education and e-health. Still, no conclusive decision has been declared by the government in this respect.

By Sannia khakwani

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