ISLAMABAD - The Universal Service Fund Company (USF Co) Directors on Wednesday approved the annual budget of USF Co for the financial year 2017-2018 which is approximately Rs14 billion.

Minister of State for Information Technology and Telecom Anusha Rahman chaired the 53rd Board meeting in which an overview of the main efforts and development of telecommunication services in un-served and under-served areas across Pakistan by USF were discussed.

This budget predominately goes to Broadband for Sustainable development project serving majority of the un-served / underserved areas in FATA, KP and Balochistan provinces as well as allocations for fiber optic connectivity in KP. Other important matters significantly related administration and projects were also deliberated as included in the budget. The budget ensures optimal spending allocation for on going and major planned projects under special projects including ICT for girls and ICT for MSMEs.

On the management proposal relating to coverage of coverage gaps and underserved areas embedded within the covered areas through the small lots project, The board directed USF management to meet the Telecom operators through PTA and collect the data of those  under served areas where  broadband services are not available yet and bring Data of those pockets (which are devoid of broadband services) to the board and then board will decide the policy measures to address the services issue of such areas.

The Board members including the Secretary IT Rizwan Bashir Khan, Member Telecom Mudassar Hussain, Chairman PTA; Dr Ismail Shah, VP ISPs,  Azfar Manzoor, President and CEO PTCL, Daniel Ritz and the senior management of USF Co also attended the meeting.