Guwahati: The Union Cabinet has given its approval for the provision of a Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) Scheme for providing mobile coverage in Arunachal Pradesh and two districts of Assam, namely Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao, under the Comprehensive Telecom Development Plan (CTDP) for North Eastern Region (NER).
The project envisages providing mobile coverage to 2,374 uncovered villages, 1683 in Arunachal Pradesh and 691 in two districts of Assam. The project would be funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund.
It will be implemented at a cost of around Rs.2,029 crore including operational expenses for five years, according to a statement from the Ministry of Communication. USOF.
Keeping in mind the inadequacy of the market mechanism to serve rural and inaccessible areas on one hand and the importance of providing vital telecom connectivity on the other, most countries of the world have put in place policies to provide Universal Access and Universal Service to ICT.
The New Telecom Policy – 1999 (NTP ’99) provided that the resources for meeting the Universal Service Obligation (USO) would be raised through a ‘Universal Access Levy (UAL)’, which would be a percentage of the revenue earned by the operators under various licenses.
The project slated to be completed by December 2022.