Pakistan Economic Survey 2017-18 Reveals
The Long Road To Serving the Underserved Areas in Pakistan
The government is constantly making efforts to develop and encourage the information technology sector in the country, but there is still a long road to cover. According to the Pakistan Economic Survey 2017-2018 it is estimated that around 7,700 kilometers of routes are un-served and at least Rs18 billion will be required to provide this (IT infrastructure and services) coverage.
The report also states that the government has already spent Rs27 billion worth of subsidy over the past five years to connect the unconnected in un-served and underserved areas of the country and still to reach the goal of connecting the un-served areas require Rs18 billion more.
Furthermore, the report also stated that 191 villages have been provided with telephone and mobile internet services, including the seven projects launched under the Broadband for Sustainable Development Program. Overall, according to the survey, the telecom sector has recorded a positive growth in the first two quarters of the FY2018, as the total teledensity reached 72.7% at the end of the second quarter compared to 72.5% at the end of previous fiscal year in June 2017.
Moreover, in February 2018, the reading reached 74.2%. Revenues of the telecom sector reached Rs235.5 billion in the first two quarters of FY18. With new faster technologies 3G/4G and Long Term Evolution (LTE) opening new revenue generation streams for mobile operators since people in the country were quickly adapting to these new technologies and services.
The report also stated that the Telecom operators have invested over 322.9 million in the first two quarters of FY18 and the cellular mobile sector has been the main driver behind the growth with a investment of $267.94 million.
Statistics further show that there were 144.53 million cellular subscribers by the end of December 2017 with net addition of 4.77 million from July to December 2017 and that by February 2018, the number rose to 147.5 million. This has been due to the increasing coverage and reduced tariffs that helped step up the pace of 3G, 4G and LTE subscriptions which stood at 51.2 million by the end of February 2018 while total broadband subscribers reached 53.5 million.
It has also been stated that with the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, the government has constituted a cyber governance policy committee that will design the cyber governance policy in the upcoming fiscal year for approval from the federal cabinet.
Additionally, the government is also establishing an IT park, spread over an area of 47.7 acres of land, in Islamabad with financing from Korea Exim Bank through the Economic Development Cooperation Fund.