Ministry of communications has resolved to restructure the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF). The move will enable free flow of more than Rs. 33,000 crore for private operators to roll out telecom network in India’s rural at an affordable cost, especially broadband services.
The ministry stated that during the last few years the demand and dynamics of telecom services have changed, restructuring of USOF has been initiated to add more objectives like broadband to all, including rural areas and bring in private operators.
According to the National Telecom Policy 1999, universal service obligations is a set of objectives which attempt to provide telecom facilities in rural areas such as mobike and internet connectivity.
Five per cent from operators’ revenue goes towards funding USOF. Credits to the fund are done through Parliamentary approvals. However, due to non-feasibility, as cited, private telecom operators have scrapped major projects in the past in rural areas.
The ministry added,“The restructuring should examine the quantum of USO levy and should be brought down to about one per cent and also help operators with administrative support in getting clearances from various government departments.”