Regulations



Universal Service can be defined as the provision of affordable basic telecommunication services to all citizens especially in the economically non-feasible regions. This includes as well data services with speed rates that allow for accessing the Internet within the framework of technology neutrality and competitive environment.

The universal service policy guarantees access to telecommunications services to all citizens at affordable prices, ensures free competition and non-monopolistic practices, enhances  usage of modernized technologies in order to expand the scope of the provided services and consolidates the national political, economic and cultural interactions.

The National Telecom Regulatory Authority

(NTRA) has launched the Universal Service Fund (USF) with an initial budget of EGP 50 million.  The establishment of the Fund in March 2005 was in accordance with the Telecommunication Regulation Law No. 10/2003 which has stipulated that NTRA is competent to manage the fund.

Objectives:

§ Compensate telecommunications operators and service providers for “price differences between the approved economical price for a service and that which may be determined by the State in favor of the user”
§ Finance infrastructure projects required for establishing the universal service rule
§ Fund projects of the telecommunication and information national plan
§ Fund the reallocation of frequency spectrum

Goals of NTRA Universal Service Policy

§ Guarantee access to telecommunications services to all citizens at affordable prices
§ Guarantee free competition and non-monopolistic practices
§ Enhance usage of modernized technologies and to expand the scope of services offered
§ Consolidate the national, political, economic and cultural interactions

Beneficiaries of Universal Service

§ Inhabitants of low-income high-cost areas
§ Low-income citizens, who cannot afford telecommunication service
§ Citizens with special needs
§ Public establishments such as: schools, libraries and hospitals

Role of NTRA in Universal Service projects

§ Setting regulations for provision of telecommunication services in remote areas or areas where service provision is economically non-feasible
§ Defining financing mechanisms for universal service projects such as the universal service fund
§ Setting universal service policy, identifying telecommunication service providers and operators, who are subject to universal service obligations and defining these obligations in accordance with Law No. 10/2003
§ Defining the un-served areas, which deserve subsidies from the universal service fund pursuant to the policy
§ Determining universal service projects for each year. Projects will be open for bidding where proposals will be examined on the technical and economic levels to select the best
§ Monitoring the implementation of universal service projects to ensure their compatibility to timeframes as well as to technical and economic specifications
§ Setting measures that should be carried out in case the universal service operators and providers do not abide by the set standards or timetables.

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