Connectivity for all

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PRIME Minister Imran Khan on Thursday directed to ensure the provision of internet facility with the best coverage in the country’s far flung and backward areas, particularly in Balochistan, merged areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh. Presiding over a meeting about enhancing and improving the coverage of internet in the country, he directed the Universal Service Fund (USF) to take necessary measures for the provision of easy and cheaper internet in schools.
That the PM meant business is evident from the fact that he also directed to constitute a Committee comprising the Advisor to the PM on Finance, and Ministers for Industries and Production, Planning, Information Technology and Education so that they could present their recommendations in that regard. There is no dearth of funds as USF has adequate money and the only question is its judicious and proper utilization for provision, extension and upgradation of Internet facilities in different parts of the country. Though the USF is understandably meant for funding of projects in far-flung and backward areas where cellular companies find it difficult to undertake ventures because of viability issues but there is logic to boost and upgrade facilities in highly populated areas as well to reap the potential benefits of IT and telecom revolution in the world.
The sector has massively been contributing to socio-economic development besides a source of significant taxes for the national exchequer but remained somewhat neglected. We have a separate Ministry of Information Technology and PTA to regulate the industry and take measures for its uplift but the pace of progress is not satisfactory and it is because of lack of proper vigilance on behalf of the institutions and authorities concerned that the quality of service is deteriorating with the passage of time. Covid-19 has also highlighted shortcomings in provision of internet facility and the experience should serve as a reference to bring about improvement on an urgent basis. The project for provision of Internet facility in schools and other educational institutions should get priority as it has obvious benefits and advantages especially in the given situation.

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