Country to have Internet access in few months
ISLAMABAD- Federal Minister for Science and Technology Prof Dr Attaur Rehman has said Internet access will be extended to the whole to Pakistan within the next couple of months.
Addressing a function to honour Sun Microsystem’s President Masood Jabbar organised by Tech-Access, the Minister said present Government has provided Internet access in 325 cities, towns and villages of the country covering almost 75 per cent population. He said soon the entire population will have access to Internet.
Prof. Atta said the Indian Pre- mier has announced a 10-year programme to spread lnternet in his country, while Pakistan has made a quantum leap and extended Internet access to 300 town and villages in one go within a few months. He said that before August 17, 2000, Internet was available only in 29 cities. “It is an unprecedented growth of lnternet in any part of the world,” the Minister said.
Prof Atta said that the cost of Internet bandwidth has also been reduced drastically making Pakistan the cheapest place in terms of bandwidth prices in the region. He said that last week the prices of Internet have been brought to US$ 3,000 per mega bit per second while it was US$ 30.0(X)/mb/s before this reduction for software houses and educational institution.
He said Pakistan has been made the most lucrative place for foreign investment and it has attracted Rs 12 billion investment in the IT field alone. For this he said the government has provided incentives. For five years, there will be zero income tax on the software firms, he added.
The present government, he said, has made 5,000 per cent increase in the budget of science and technology and 70 per cent of these allocations will be spent on developing the human resource and science education in the country.
To produce quality manpower, he said soon a National Testing Service will be launched with a National Accreditation Council to ensure the quality of IT graduates.
Seven new universities are being set up for IT education. COMSATS and NUST have already granted charter and a virtual interactive university is also being set up shortly.
He said the government has allotted three hours air time on PTV and the Shaheen Pay TV has given two hours for IT education.
Prof. Atta said business incubators are being set up in Tokyo, San Francisco and one has already started working in Singapore. China is also cooperating in setting up joint venture software development projects, he added.
The Minister said advertisements have been given in international media to hire highly qualified faculty from abroad and attractive packages are being offered to Pakistani experts come back and contribute in national development. He said the government requires about 150-200 trained faculty to give boost to IT education in the country.
Masood Jabbar said Sun Micro systems is committed to Pakistan. On this occasion he donated 50, 000 Compact Discs (CDs) for government departments and educational institutions.
He said Pakistan will have to focus on its grassroots education system in order to make a niche in the field of IT. He commanded the efforts made by Minister for S&T Prof Attaur Rehman for the promotion of IT in the country.
“Now that we have the infrastructure, we should be ready to provide services,” he said and added that there are millions of jobs vacant in the United States after they have tapped India, Israel and Arab World. He said the world has no choice but come to Pakistan because it has the largest English literate workforce.
He said Japan and China are also handicapped due to their language to add value to the software they have. He said Sun Micro system has 15,000 employees and still it is unable to find 2000 more workers in entire world. lqtidar said Tech-Access, representatives of Sun Micro system will provide training to software professionals and introduce latest IT product to Pakistani market.
Source: The Nation