High-speed internet facilities will be accessible shortly in Kaghan, Chitral, Naran, Neelum Valley, and other tourism hotspots in the northern areas of Pakistan, CEO Universal Service Fund (USF) Haris Mehmood Chaudhry said.
Haris Mehmood also stated that Panjgur, Gwadar, and other parts of Balochistan will also acquire high-speed internet facilities after a year.
Regarding the project, fiber optic work has begun in seven districts of the tribal regions as well and 900km of fiber optic is being placed in Kurram, Khyber, and Mohmand as well, he added.
The work is affected by the challenge of the stealing of batteries from the generators of towers in rural areas. Though, the initial power supply to the USF-subsidized towers arises from the solar system.
Previously, Information Technology Minister Syed Amin-ul Haq had stated that connectivity and high-speed internet plans cost Rs 31 billion and it would shortly be finalized.
The minister informed 5G technology would be announced by December 2022. The government was functioning on a Smart Phone for All project, allowing 220 million Pakistanis to have an approach to such devices.
Pakistan has been ranked 76th out of 100 countries on the Inclusive Internet Index 2020. This index benchmarks countries based on four dimensions: availability, affordability, relevance, and people’s readiness to use it.
In terms of availability, Pakistan ranked 86th out of 100, which shows poor quality and breadth of available infrastructure required for access and levels of internet usage.