24 July :The Telecom Commission has decided to waive license fee on rural landline telephones in an effort to promote telephone use in rural areas. The decision is also intended to give a boost to e-governance through provision of more broadband services in villages, thus reducing the digital divide.
The waiver will amount to 200 crores rupees per year. The decision was taken in the recent meeting of the Telecom Commission, Department of Telecommunications in New Delhi.
The Telecom Commission also decided to reduce the Levy towards the Universal Service Obligation (USO) from the present 5 per cent to 3 per cent of the Adjusted Ground Revenue (AGR) in the case of those telecom service providers who have already covered more than 95 per cent of rural areas. The Universal Service Obligation Fund has been set up to create infrastructure support in rural and remote areas for providing telecommunications service to people at affordable and reasonable prices.
The latest decisions of the Telecom Commission are in line with the Government’s policy of promotion of rural telephony and accessibility of telephone in remote areas. The aim is to achieve rural teledensity of 25 per cent by means of 200 million rural connections at the end of the 11th Plan. The rural teledensity stood at 8 per cent as on December 31, 2007.