USF funds and issues, quite global

Suzanne Bowen : Monetizing IP Communications
Suzanne Bowen
37 yrs in telecom, teaching, blog & grant writing, biz development, marketing, & PR. Favorite moments in life involve time w/ family & friends, networking, IP communications industry verticals & horizontals, running, traveling, foreign languages
| 1. "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition..." Barack Obama ..... 2. "One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce, and canonized those who complain." By Thomas Sowell

USF funds and issues, quite global

First, in case, you're not familiar with USF. Wikipedia does a good job among its global contributors in defining and describing it. USA "was created by the United States Federal Communications Commission in 1997 to meet the goals of Universal Service as mandated by the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The 1996 Act states that all providers of telecommunications services should contribute to federal universal service in some equitable and nondiscriminatory manner; there should be specific, predictable, and sufficient Federal and State mechanisms to preserve and advance universal service; all schools, classrooms, health care providers, and libraries should, generally, have access to advanced telecommunications services; and finally, that the Federal-State Joint Board and the FCC should determine those other principles that, consistent with the 1996 Act, are necessary to protect the public interest."

I'm in Karachi for a couple weeks to participate in ITCN Asia and visit with some of the 10,000 or so extremely valuable ITSPs we serve with DIDX. After a few phone conversations on Skype, Gizmo5 or my Nokia e61i using Zong, I've learned that USF is much debated here in Pakistan as it is in the USA.

Here's an article from the net that Tariq Mustafa added for discussion of USF on the Pakistan Telecom Grid Google Groups list.

ISLAMABAD: All cellular companies of Pakistan have proposed to the Ministry of IT and Telecom to eliminate Universal Services Fund's (USF) share in Access Promotion Charge (APC) and let cellular companies enjoy all of APC to increase their revenues and lower the Average Revenue per User (ARPU) levels.

APC is the portion of revenue that currently equals US$0.05 per minute on all international calls terminating on landline or cellular networks of Pakistan. Fixed line operator, PTCL, gets all of APC ($0.05) for all calls that are terminated on its network. However, cellular companies are getting only 1.57 cents per minute on all calls that terminate on cellular networks. This 1.57 cents or Rs1.10 is PTA's determined termination rate per minute for all calls that land on cellular networks. Hence, cellular companies are entertained with Rs1.10 for calls that land on its networks whether domestic or international. Remaining cost of 3.43 cents per minute (for international traffic) goes to the USF.

The proposal said that mobile companies share the largest amount of incoming international traffic that is being terminated on mobile networks, it is only fair that the portion of APC, which is being currently mopped up as USF contribution, be granted to mobile companies, so that they can further increase their revenues and support the expanding network demands through out the country.

All mobile companies believe that they are already contributing 1.5 per cent of their revenues to USF, which is much more than the amount that could be actually spent by USF Company.

The proposal sent to the Ministry of IT and Telecom and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority was signed by CEOs of all mobile companies and PTCL.

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