ISLAMABAD: Under Universal Service Fund (USF) programmes, more than 15,000 remote villages and 28 million people have been provide broadband services during the last four years. An official of the IT ministry said, “last 4 years have been busiest with respect to USFs outreach. We have only contracted 79 new projects worth $266 million to provide coverage to 28 million people in this period.” To a question he said, budget of Rs 32.13 billion for the Universal Service Fund was approved in financial year 2022-23 to provide broadband services to unserved and under-served areas. “In 13 years from 2006 to 2019, the number of USF projects was limited to 59, after which directives were issued to speed-up number of projects and increase the performance, as a result, 65 Broadband Service and OFC projects were launched from 2019 to date which is a record itself,” the official of the ministry of IT said. He said that as a result of Telecom policies and provision of broadband services to the unserved and under-served areas, the number of telecom subscribers had reached a record level of 193 million by May 30, 2022. Similarly, the number of 3G and 4G subscribers in the country has crossed 114 million while the number of subscribers using broadband services has reached 117 million. In recent years Pakistan’s ICT economy has achieved successive, stellar growth rates and is among the fastest growing sectors within Pakistan, thereby demonstrating the ability of Pakistan’s ICT industry to deliver IT solutions and services through sustainable models. He said that enormous incentives were being given to foreign investors, especially in the IT and Telecommunication sector, and this is the most suitable time for investment in Pakistan.