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The Problems of Monitoring certain USF schemes

Getting Regulation Right Blog Aspect
Dr Archana Gulati
Published Oct 05, 2013
Updated Sep 03, 2023

I am always wary of USF schemes that pose too heavy a burden in terms of monitoring. USOF India had a scheme for rural household connections which posed exactly such a burden and has thankfully been discontinued.

Even with its presumably more advanced regulatory and administrative abilities, FCC seems to find it hard to keep fraudulent claims out of its similar lifeline programme. A recent news item speaks about penalties being imposed for claiming  ineligible connections and for fraudulent duplication in claims . It is said that,

“FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai said federal Lifeline reimbursements to phone companies grew to $2.2 billion in 2012, up from $817 million in 2008. He said a “significant amount” of that growth was due to increased waste, fraud and abuse.”

I would have thought that FCC would consider closing this programme or redesigning it altogether.

Please see previous posts on (Reforming) U.S.A’s Universal Service programme. Also readers may like to view my article “Monitoring for Effective service Delivery-The case of USO Funded Schemes