Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) has invited two sets of bids from telecom operators to provide high quality telephony service in rural areas of India. USOF, the agency has conducted an auction to select the telecom operators to subsidise rural communications.
In the first of the bids, USOF has asked telecom operators to set up passive infrastructure like the towers and supplies. The second part of the bid requires the installation of active infrastructure, the telecommunications equipment on the towers and back-haul carriage facilities. The bidding results shows that civil infrastructure is more costly than the cost of equipments. Civil infrastructure is the real challenge for companies, who are trying to provide rural telephony services. Recently the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has made comprehensive recommendations for allocation of a spectrum for 3G services which offer precisely this kind of mobile broadband. The same infrastructure supports e-Governance, computer based government services like birth and death registration and land record system.