- Established in 2002, the USOF is headed by the USOF Administrator who reports to the Secretary, Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
- The Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Act, 2003 gave statutory status to the Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF)
- The USOF’s main aim is to provide universal telecom services and ensure that even the unconnected areas in the country reap the benefits of inclusive development.
The main functions of the USOF are:
- To provide widespread and non-discriminatory access to quality ICT services at affordable prices to people in rural and remote areas.
- To provide an effective and powerful linkage to the hinterland thereby mainstreaming the population of rural and remote parts of the country.
How does it work?
- The funds come from Universal Service Levy (USL).
- The USL is charged from all the telecom operators on their Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR).
- These are then deposited into the Consolidated Fund of India, and prior parliamentary approval is required for dispatching.