2003 Trends in Telecommunication Reform 2003

Promoting Universal Access to ICTs. Practical tools for regulators

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The fifth edition of Trends in Telecommunication Reform explores the tools regulators can use to promote universal access/service. The report provides an overview of universal access/service, the role of sector reform, creation and operation of a universal service fund, the role of minimum subsidy auction, how consumer tariffs and interconnection rates affect the viability of rural universal access/service projects, public access strategies including telecentres, and how regulators can foster entrepreneurial solutions to rural access. The report is structured into eight chapters.



Creation and operation of universal service funds

As stated in the previous Chapter, there have been promising gains from efforts to enlist the market in achieving universal access/service goals. However, many rural areas throughout the developing world remain un-served by any communications network, whether fixed line or mobile, and fall into the true access gap. Access to high-speed Internet services also remains out of reach for most citizens of developing countries, especially in rural areas. Many countries, therefore, have begun drafting universal access/service policies aimed at increased access to ICTs. Many of these policies call for the creation of universal service funds as a means of bridging the digital divide.


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