Levy on telecom operators for social obligation fund cut

October 3rd, 2008 - 10:08 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 3 (IANS) The annual revenue share of the license fee that telecom operators are required to pay towards the universal service obligation fund (USOF) will be reduced from April 1 next year, the government said in a statement Friday.The reduction in USOF levy shall be effective April 1, 2009, or from the first day of the quarter following the date of completion of coverage of more than 95 percent of the total number of development blocks in the licensed service area, whichever is later, the statement said.

“Along with the payment of quarterly license fee, the licensee needs to submit an affidavit and a list of development blocks covered, establishing the coverage of more than 95 percent of the total number of development blocks in the licensed service area,” the Department of Telecom (DoT) said.

The government, however, reserves the right to verify the claim of the license about the coverage of development blocks through the ‘Authorised Wing of DoT’ and the licensee shall be responsible for all arrangements for verification, it added.

“However, the reductions specified are not applicable for the access service licenses for ‘metro’ category service areas,” the statement added.

The resources for implementation of USO are raised through a Universal Service Levy (USL), which is fixed at 5 percent of the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) of all telecom service providers except the pure value added service providers like Internet, voice mail and e-mail service providers.

In addition, the central government may also give grants and loans.

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