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Role of Universal Service Obligation Fund in Rural Telecom Services: Lessons from the Indian Experience


  • G. Raghuram
  • Rekha Jain


Despite the tremendous growth of mobile services in most developing countries, these have largely remained limited to urban areas. This has further aggravated the existing urban and rural divide. Policy makers and regulators perceive the need for an effective regulatory and policy environment to reduce the gap, as there are several market challenges in this endeavor, including low commercial viability. However, most such interventions have had little success. This paper outlines India.s experience of increasing rural teledensity, including its recent policy initiative to increase penetration through creation of a Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) that supported a variety of innovative initiatives. [W.P. No. 2009-06-03]

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  • G. Raghuram & Rekha Jain, 2010. "Role of Universal Service Obligation Fund in Rural Telecom Services: Lessons from the Indian Experience," Working Papers id:2704, eSocialSciences.
  • Handle: RePEc:ess:wpaper:id:2704
    Note: Institutional Papers

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Burkart, Patrick, 0. "Moving targets: Introducing mobility into universal service obligations," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(3-4), pages 164-178, April.
    2. Alison Gillwald, 2005. "A Closing Window of Opportunity: Under-Serviced Area Licensing in South Africa," Information Technologies and International Development, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 1-19.
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    Cited by:

    1. Liu, Chun & Jayakar, Krishna, 2012. "The evolution of telecommunications policy-making: Comparative analysis of China and India," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 13-28.
    2. Jain, Rekha, 2012. "Effectiveness of public funding for rural telecom and broadband: Lessons from the universal service obligation fund, India," 19th ITS Biennial Conference, Bangkok 2012: Moving Forward with Future Technologies - Opening a Platform for All 72541, International Telecommunications Society (ITS).
    3. Prasad, Rohit, 2015. "The production function methodology for estimating the value of spectrum," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 77-88.
    4. Jayakar, Krishna & Liu, Chun, 2014. "Universal service in China and India: Legitimating the state?," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 186-199.

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    More about this item


    Rural Telecom; Universal Access; Universal Service; Universal Service Obligation Fund; Viability Gap Funding; Rural Teledensity;
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