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UNIVERSAL SERVICE OBLIGATION FUND


 

For providing telecom services to the rural & remote areas where the normal market mechanism would not encourage operates to build their networks the concept of Universal Support Service was introduced by the Govt. of India in line with many countries of the world.

The New Telecom policy 1999 provided that the resources for meeting the USO would be raised through a universal access levy which would be a percentage of the revenue earned by the operators under various licensees. The Universal Service Support Policy came into effect from 1.4.2002. The Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Act, 2003 giving statutory status to the USOF was passed by the both Houses of Parliament in December 2003. The Rules for administration of the fund known as Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Rules 2004 were notified on 26.3.2004

As per the Indian Telegraph Act 1885(as amended in 2003, 2006 and 2008), the fund is to be utilized exclusively for meeting the universal service obligation ie providing telecom services to the people in rural and remote areas at affordable and reasonable prices.

The universal service levy is presently 5% of the AGR of all telecom service providers except the pure value added service providers like internet, voice mail etc.

The USOF at the moment supports mainly 3 categories of activities :-

i)    Rural Telephony
ii)  Broadband services
iii) NOFN

 

Role of the CCA



The implementation of the Universal Support Policy involves financial support from the USOF to the telecom service providers for provisioning telecom services in the rural & remote areas. The operators submit quarterly claims to the offices of CCA.

The CCAs are responsible for:-

i)   Verification of the USO claims and release of payments.
ii)   Inspection of USOF sites and monitoring the veracity of these claims.
iii)  Proper accounting of all transactions relating to USOF claims.
iv)  Submission of various reports/returns to USOF headquarters.

 

USO Schemes in H.P. Circle

 

The following two USO agreements are operating at present in HP Telecom Circle:-

S.No.
Particulars of Agreement (BSNL)
Agreement NO.
Period of Agreement.
1
Agreement for prov. New VPTs as per census 2001.
30-131/2008-USF dated: 27.02.2009.
27.2.2009 to 26.02.2016 (07 Years)
2
Agreement for Rural Wire line Broadband Connections
30-160-8/wire line-BB/2006- USF dated: 20.01.2009.
w.e.f. 20/01/2009 (For 08 years)
3
National optical fibre network ( NOFN )
30-166/2014/BB-uSOF Dated 25-02-2014
w.e.f. 25-02-2012 ( For 5 years )

 

1. VPTs- Phase-II

 

i)  This schemes launched in Feb. 2009 to newly identified uncovered inhabited villages where Village Public Telephones (VPTs) were not provided through earlier agreement .

ii)  In HP Circle the target for 1399 of VPTs was fixed as per license agreement and 1342 VPTs installed by the BSNL (USP) so far.

iii)  Some villages left out are due to hard areas, snow covered areas deep forests.

iv) The scheme envisages support in the form of Front-Loaded Subsidy (FLS) by the Government at technology based rates to cover the capital costs and also Equated-annual/Quarterly-subsidy (EAS/EQS) for the operational costs. The tariff is regulated as per the TRAI guidelines.

The service provider for HP Service Area is only BSNL.

 

2. Wire-line Broadband Connectivity in Rural & Remote Areas Scheme:

 

The Agreement signed with BSNL on 20.01.2009 provides to create a total number of 25141 wire line Broadband connections to individual users and Government Institutions & kiosks from 811 DSLAMs, installed at existing rural and remote exchanges over a period of 6- years, i.e, upto 2015.

These connections shall have throughout the period of at least 512 kbps and have capabilities to deliver date, voice and video services and support internet browsing, voice over IP, multimedia, video conferencing, e-learning, e-telemedicine, e-governance etc. They shall have provision to upgrade up to 2 Mbps.

The USOF subsidized Tariff Plan shall be.

Tariff Plan
Min. speed
Free download
Rate per Mb of extra usage
Monthly charges
1
512 Kbps
400 Mb
0.4
99/-
2
512 Kbps
1 GB
0.4
150/-

3. National Optical Fibre Netowrk ( NOFN)
On 25th of October 2011, the Government of India approved the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) to connect all 2,50,000 Gram Panchayats in the country. This is to be achieved by utilizing the existing optical fibre and extending it to the Gram Panchayats.

Bharat Broadband Network Limited (BBNL) is a Telecom Infrastructure provider, set up by the Govt of India for the establishment, management and operation of the National Optical Fibre Network.

The CsCA have been appointed as Designated Monitoring Agency for NOFN project. They have been directed to monitor the NOFN project and ensure the proper adherence to and timely implementation of the various clauses of the NOFN scheme by BBNL.

USO subsidy for the VPTs & Broadband schemes have been settled upto the quarter ended : Dec 2015



 

 

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