Pakistan Universal Service Fund: Secrets of success


Posted by Rohan Samarajiva on May 7, 2010  /  1 Comments

A write-up by an Indian journalist who attended the recent Islamabad Expert Forum summarizes the reasons for it working better than the gargantuan Indian USF: lower rate; efficient disbursement mechanism:

Interestingly, while in India, a telecom operator has to contribute 5 per cent of its annual revenue to the USO Funds, Pakistan charges much less at 1.5 per cent. In India, the funds go to the national budget and the Department of Telecommunications has to make projects to source them, in Pakistan a separate company has been created to utilise the funds.

The journalist also points to a new twist whereby renewable energy has been made mandatory for all base stations supported by the Fund.

In a bold move, the Pakistan Telecom Authority, the telecom Regulator has made it mandatory that all bases stations being set up with support from the USF should be ‘Green Sites’ or renewable energy powered, especially solar and wind as the case may be. The reason being that there is currently, a huge shortage of electricity in rural Pakistan.

One hopes India will take what is good from the experience of others, even Pakistan.

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