Pakistan's 15% Population still lacks access to Mobile and Telecom services

It is estimated that even today, a chunk of Pakistani population is still living without technological advancements
Pakistan's 15% Population still lacks access to Mobile and Telecom services

Since 2006–2007, the Universal Service Fund (USF) has spent about Rs. 93 billion, and still about 15% of the country's population lacks access to mobile and telecom services. According to official sources, several regions in Balochistan and some in the formerly Federal Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) are still without basic telephone and mobile broadband connections.

In order to extend cellular, broadband internet, fibre optic, and other communications services to underserved or unserved areas, the fund was established in 2007. Every telecom company has been giving the fund of 1.5% of their earnings. Before USF was introduced in 2006–2007, the percentage of telecommunications coverage was approximately 44%.

Despite tremendous expansion, many locations, according to USF authorities, are still underserved. They said that the USF faced difficulties such as rough terrain, less population, severe weather, lack of electricity, no backhaul, inadequate logistics, and security clearance. The government funds programmes so that telecom carriers can reach the underserved and unserved in places where their business models are unviable.

According to a representative of the USF, the "Broadband for Sustainable Development" programme aims to bring telecom services to underserved Mauzas around the nation. This programme has been revised to include broadband equivalent data (internet) services as a required component after the federal government issued 3G/4G licences.

Another USF project, the optic fibre programme, intends to support the growth of telecommunications services in underserved and unserved rural areas to provide data and call services that are both inexpensive and reliable. This calls for the development of a strong and dependable optic fibre network across the country. In order to address the expanding needs for phone, data, and video, this project will bring optic fibre access to the Tehsil headquarters, which are currently unconnected.

The telecom service providers can expand all types of telecom services to those locations by adding fibre cables to tehsils. It is comparable to creating information superhighways for all tehsils. In accordance with this initiative, 56 tehsils and 26 towns have been connected, and 6,447 kilometres of optic fibre have been laid.

A number of initiatives have been launched under specific projects, including ICTs for girls, the construction of 13 computer laboratories in certain institutions, the opening of telecenters, the ability for people with impairments to access telecom services, and telemedicine network end services.