ATRA chief pledges to accelerate work on Digital CASA programme

4 Dec 2020

The acting head of the Afghanistan Telecom Regulatory Authority (ATRA) has pledged to accelerate work on the World Bank-funded ‘Digital CASA (Central Asia and South Asia) Afghanistan’ programme. The main goals of the five-year, USD51 million project are to provide Afghans with more affordable internet access, to attract private investment in the ICT sector and to improve the government’s capacity to deliver digital government services to the public. In a statement from the regulator, acting ATRA Chairman Omar Mansoor Ansari said: ‘ATRA will take crucial steps together with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and World Bank as an important shareholder of the project to ensure that citizens have access to the best and most satisfactory telecom and internet services … ATRA has [completed the] basic works of this project, such as issuance of optical fibre expansion licenses, encouraging investors and controlling prices, and is also ready to have an important role in implementing the project through comprehensive coordination.’

As noted by TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Afghan authorities and the World Bank completed the first phase of the programme – the Project Preparation Grant (PPG) stage – in December 2018, including amongst other things a fibre-optic cable survey of the Wakhan Corridor and the development of an Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) for Digital CASA Afghanistan.