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USOF India-Problem of Plenty

Getting Regulation Right Blog Aspect
Dr Archana Gulati
Published Nov 24, 2013
Updated Sep 03, 2023
My last post suggested that perhaps USOF India needs to consider a review of regulation to ensure a level playing field. It should not become a another channel for funding the incumbent operator. The idea of the Universal Service Levy was in the nature of pay or play i.e. it would go back to those operators who participated in rural roll out. However the exception of funding the PSU incumbent by nomination rather than designing schemes for tendering is becoming the norm and private operators continue to expand their rural market share at the cost of the incumbent at their own cost!
A news item titled “USO Fund: Higher levy, lower allocation” bemoans the rising collection of USL and quotes an operator association (GSMA) as follows:
“[The USOF} needs to align the funding demands made on operators with its funding needs and with the financial state of the operators, seeking alternative funding sources where appropriate. It also needs to develop clear, transparent policies that are aligned with defined short- and mid-term milestones. USO policies should also focus on needs not met by markets,” 
Of course the NOFN project shall take up the lion’s share of accumulation of USL and this project given on nomination basis to a SPV of three PSUs is already showing the typical signs of time and cost overruns.