The importance of information and communication technology (ICT) is felt more or less equally all around world. In earlier days, universal service (US) and universal access (UA) would mean the concept of ensuring affordable telephone service or at least ensuring access to telephone to the people who otherwise would be deprived. However, with the advent of Internet ensuring broadband access has become one of the most important US/UA agendas.
There are two schools of thought on extending coverage of broadband: one believes that no roll-out obligation is necessary as demand and competition will take care of it, the other believes in order for universal coverage, roll-out obligations are necessary. In Bangladesh, in the absence of roll-out obligations mobile phone penetration reached 98% in 15 years, whereas in Pakistan, a country five times larger than Bangladesh reached 85% penetration in less than three years with roll out obligations. Therefore, it seems that rollout obligations accelerates the process. Country’s priorities would determine the path it would follow out of the two options but one fact remains, in the first option, uneconomical areas may be left un-served forever but may be served in the second option.
Competing for subsidies from Universal Access and Service - this section describes the key tender design considerations and the protocol for holding a competitive tender to allocate subsidies to a winning operator or service provider in exchange for universal access and service (UAS) provision.
Universal Access and Service and Broadband - focused on universal service and universal access, and was based on the materials contained in Module 4 of the ICT Regulation Toolkit.
Regulatory measures to improve UAS - Universal access and service (UAS) is achieved through a combination of sector reform, dedicated financing instruments and additional measures that stimulate market expansion into rural and remote areas. This chapter explores the role of sector reform in achieving UAS.
Broadband Targets for 2015 - The Broadband Commission has set four clear, new targets for making broadband policy universal and for boosting affordability and broadband uptake:
Target 1: Making broadband policy universal.
Target 2: Making broadband affordable.
Target 3: Connecting homes to broadband.
Target 4: Getting people online.