Separation of USOF, DoT For Rural Telephony

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) recently recommended separation of the USOF from the department of telecommunications and make it an autonomous body on the lines of the National Highways Authority of India. This step has come up in the light of the fact that the rural telephony is not growing at the desired pace and the disbursement of the universal service obligation fund (USOF) is not effective enough.

The Trai in its recommendations on growth of rural telephony on a suo motu basis has said that the USO fund Act/ Rule should be so amended that the funds accruing to USOF through levy on mobile operators is directly managed by the organization and is not routed through the budgetary process of the union government.