Universal Service Obligation - An overview

USO Schemes – A Brief

The Universal Service Support Policy came into effect from 1.4.2002. Both Houses of Parliament passed the Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Act 2003 giving statutory status to the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) in December 2003. Deemed to have come into effect from 1st April 2002 , the Fund is to be utilized exclusively for meeting the Universal Service Obligation
The Administrator, USF, heads the Universal Service Obligation Fund. The Administrator is empowered to formulate procedures for implementation of the USO and disbursement of funds from the USOF. His office functions as an Attached office of the Department of Telecom, Ministry of Communications & IT.
The Universal Service Levy is presently 5% of the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) of all telecom service providers except the pure value added service providers like Internet, Voice Mail, E-Mail service providers etc.
The following activities are supported by the USOF :

Stream-I:

Provision of Public Telecom and Information Services:

Installation, Operation and Maintenance of Village Public Telephones (VPTs) in the villages identified as per Census 1991 and installation of VPTs in the additional revenue villages as per Census 2001.
Provision of additional rural community phones (RCPs) in villages with population more than 2000, after achieving the target of one VPT in every village.
Replacement of Multi Access Radio Relay (MARR) based VPTs installed before 1.4.2002.

Stream-II:

Provision of household telephones in rural and remote areas
For household DELs installed prior to 01-04-2002, the difference in rental actually charged from rural subscribers and rent prescribed by TRAI for such subscribers shall be reimbursed until such time the Access Deficit Charges prescribed by TRAI from time to time take into account such difference.
For household DELs installed after 1st day of April, 2002, Capital Recovery, Operational Expenses and Revenue shall be taken into account to determine the Net Cost.
Note: Unless otherwise specified by the Central Government, the Short Distance Charging Area shall be taken as a unit for the purpose of arriving at the Net Cost for activities specified in item (b) of stream II
Stream-III:

Creation of infrastructure for provision of Mobile Services in rural and remote areas:

The assets constituting the infrastructure for provision of mobile services shall be determined by the Central Government from time-to-time.
A percentage of the Capital Recovery for the infrastructure for provision of mobile services shall be taken into account to determine the Net Cost.
Stream-IV:

Provision of Broadband connectivity to villages in a phased manner:

A percentage of the Capital Recovery for the infrastructure for broadband connectivity shall be taken into account to determine the Net Cost.
Stream-V:

Creation of general infrastructure in rural and remote areas for development of telecommunication facilities
The items of general infrastructure to be taken up for development shall be determined by the Central Govt. from time to time.
A percentage of the Capital Recovery for the development of general infrastructure shall be taken into account to determine the Net Cost.
Stream-VI:

Induction of new technological developments in the telecom sector in rural and remote areas
Pilot projects to establish new technological developments in the telecom sector, which can be deployed in the rural and remote area, may be supported with the approval of the Central Government.

 

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