USF Spending on Provision of Telecom Services Crosses Rs. 90 Billion

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The Universal Service Fund (USF) has spent Rs. 90.670 billion since its inception on providing telecom services in unserved and under-served areas of the country, while Rs 71.06 billion is still in the balance, official documents revealed.

The USF was created in 2007 under the Telecom Act amendment of 2006 to extend cellular, broadband internet, fiber optics, and other telecommunication services to unserved or under-served areas. All telecom companies have been contributing 1.5 percent of their revenues to the USF.

Official data revealed that the total contribution of telecom operators to USF is Rs. 131.298 billion, since its inception. USF received Rs. 12.411 billion from Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and earned Rs. 17.366 billion as interest on investments and bank balance.

Further, USF held Rs. 653.87 million shares of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) USF which is payable to AJK. USF has total receipts of Rs. 161.730 billion while spending is Rs. 90.670 billion. The net fund is Rs 71.06 billion including Rs. 57.21 billion with the Ministry of Finance.

USF spent the highest amount of Rs. 18.750 billion in 2021-22 while the highest inflow of Rs. 14.784 billion was in 2013-14. USF is a mandated organization for telecom services across the country and has launched/planned a number of projects under the voice and high-speed broadband data services program (3G/4G).

The documents further revealed that projects worth Rs. 42.3 billion are under execution whereas many projects are planned for un-served and under-served populations in rural and remote areas across the country. Depending upon the size of the project targets, the completion timelines range from 6 months to 18 months.

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