Universal service is the principle that all persons in the ECTEL Member States should have access to electronic communications services. Under the Telecommunications Acts in the ECTEL Member States, Universal Service is defined as:- the provision of public voice telephony; internet access; telecommunications services to schools, hospitals and similar institutions and the disabled and physically challenged; or other service by which people access efficient, affordable and modern telecommunications.
A Universal Service Fund (USF) has been established in each ECTEL Member State for the promotion of universal service. The Universal Service Fund is paid for by contributions from providers of telecommunications services, which is assessed as a percentage of their annual revenues.
Universal service is an important provision in the Treaty establishing ECTEL and in the Telecommunications Acts of the ECTEL Member States. Universal service programs have helped make broadband service available in a number of public institutions as well as in public areas.
For more information on the Universal Service programs in your State contact your local National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.