Presentation on theme: "ECTELs Universal Service Activities Towards Bridging the Rural Urban Divide."— Presentation transcript:
ECTELs Universal Service Activities Towards Bridging the Rural Urban Divide
Purpose of Presentation To outline the activities undertaken by ECTEL in relation to Universal Service over the last few years as a means of providing the background to initiatives currently being undertaken in the Member States
Principles of Universal Service Funds Facilitating extending basic services Providing subsidies to providers Closing gaps Inclusion of marginal communities – geographic, economic, social, institutional
Background: Aspects of ECTEL Treaty Relating to Universal Service ARTICLE 4 - Purposes of ECTEL The major purposes of ECTEL shall be to promote-: (c) a universal service, so as to ensure the widest possible access to telecommunications at an affordable rate by the people of the Contracting States and to enable the people of the Contracting States to share in the freedom to communicate over an efficient and modern telecommunications network;
Treaty – Other Related Purposes of ECTEL To promote: (g) the introduction of advanced telecommunications technologies and an increased range of services in the Contracting States; (h) increased penetration of telecommunications in the Contracting States;
ECTEL Treaty ARTICLE 5 -Functions and Powers of ECTEL 1. ECTEL's functions are to (p) advise Contracting States on the management of the Universal Service Fund and make recommendations on applications for disbursements from these Funds;
ECTEL Treaty ARTICLE 12 - Universal Service Fund 1. Each Contracting State agrees to establish a Fund, within its jurisdiction, to be known as the Universal Service Fund for the purpose of promoting the widest possible access to telecommunications at an affordable cost to the people of the Contracting States.
ECTEL Treaty ARTICLE 12 - Universal Service Fund 2. The revenues of the Fund shall consist of payments made by individual licencees direct to the Fund in accordance with conditions of their licences requiring contributions to promote universal service. 3. Contracting States shall manage the Universal Service Fund taking into account the recommendations of ECTEL
Telecoms Acts Sections 43 to 45 of the Acts address Universal Service Section 43: Universal Service Obligations are addressed through Licences Section 44: provides for establishment and management of USF and issuance of the Order governing contributions to the Fund Section 45: Provides for regulations to govern the computation of compensation to service providers
TICT Project COMPONENT 2 - Universal Access The objective of this component is to review current universal access policy, create related guidelines, and provide financial support to establish a Universal Service Fund (USF).
TICT Project Subcomponent Universal Service Guidelines: This subcomponent will establish unified policy, strategy, and implementing guidelines that will help ensure the spread of advanced telecommunications infrastructure to communities and public institutions in the region. It will assist in preparing a comprehensive consultation paper to define Universal Service Guidelines (USG) for improving access to information and telecommunications services through a USF, as well as drafting regulations that would address the management of the Fund and Universal Service Obligations.
TICT Project Subcomponent Implementation Support: The objective of this subcomponent is to provide skilled support to ECTEL and the NTRCs to implement the USF regulations, policy and operating procedures to be defined under subcomponent 2.1.
TICT Project Subcomponent Support for Universal Service Fund: The objective o f this subcomponent is to establish and provide a one-time subsidy to the USF that will stimulate private investment in expanding broadband connectivity and access to advanced ICT for under-served communities and public institutions.
Universal Service Regulations Public Consultations on Draft Regs - Oct 2006 Regional Workshop on Universal Service – Feb 2007 Public Consultations on Revised Draft Regs – Apr/may 2007 Regional Workshop involving AGs Chambers – Jun 2007 Draft Regs approved by the ECTEL Board of Directors - Sept 2007 Regulations approved by Council - October 2007 and forwarded to Member States for promulgation By March 2009 promulgation by SKB and SVG only
Universal Service Guidelines Aspects of Guidelines discussed at Regional workshop – Feb 2007 Circulated for Public Consultation – Dec 2007 – Feb 2008 Approved by ECTEL Board – Apr 2008 Guidelines approved at Special Council Meeting - July 2008 and submitted to NTRCs
Memoranda of Understanding During 2008 and 2009 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between the NTRCs and ECTEL on arrangements for implementation of universal service projects using the funds from the TICT Project were discussed and signed by all countries except SVG
Solicitation Letters to Service Providers Some initial ideas and proposals submitted by the licensed service providers and other ICT interests Two prominent ideas were CAPs and Mobile Cellular Base Stations – expanding basic services in voice and internet The situation suggested that, at the time, service providers were either unable or unwilling to prepare adequate project proposals.
Promotional Activities Promotional activities were required in the Member States to: create a greater level of interest in the Universal Service projects in general; encourage service providers and other business interest to participate in the upcoming bidding processes; obtain information on local conditions – to develop the projects; prepare the bid documents; to make the projects and bidding process attractive to local businesses;
Bidding Documents Bidding Documents for DOM CAPs Project started completed, published and bids submitted. Bid Documents published in Grenada – opening in May Work on SVG Documents complete. SLU and SKN projects being developed
Closing Observations Introduction of Universal Service took longer than planned/expected – potential drawbacks as a strategy to bridge divide It has been a learning exercise for ECTEL and NTRCs – guidelines must balance global and local benchmarks/standards Limited initial interest from service providers – new small responsive providers needed High level of interest from political directorate – critical support to bridge divide Many Challenges, which are likely to continue