Universal Service Obligation Fund

The Universal Service Support Policy came into effect from 1.4.2002. The Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Act 2003 giving statutory status to the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) was passed by both Houses of Parliament 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 and the balance to the credit of the Fund will not lapse at the end of the financial year. Credits to the Fund shall be through Parliamentary approvals. The Rules for administration of the Fund have also been notified on 26.3.2004 .

The Universal Service Obligation Fund is headed by the Administrator, USF. 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.

USO supports three categories of activities:-

  1. Rural Telephony and
  2. Mobile Infrastructure
  3. Broadband

Role of the CCA & Background

The implementation of Universal Service Support Policy involves financial support from Universal Service Obligation Fund to meet the net cost of providing the specified Universal Service Obligation. This covers both public access as well as provision of household telephones in rural and remote areas. The Controller of Communication Accounts is responsible for:

  1. Verification of the claims and release of payments
  2. CCA office is the Designated Monitoring Authority (DMA)