To ensure economic and social development, all citizens, including the poor and those living in rural areas, must have access to information and communication services remains crucial for economic and social development. Because national broadband development is fundamental for economic competitiveness in the digital age, the team at Intelecon increasingly see universal access and service (UAS) policies merging with broadband policies.

Intelecon has been at the forefront of UAS for over a decade and has been instrumental in analyzing specific country requirements; developing tailored policy, regulation and financing instruments; and then assisting countries in implementing UAS broadband pilots and national programs.

Intelecon has advised the following countries on UAS and Broadband policy: Botswana, Burkina Faso, Chile, Peru, Philippines, Mongolia, India, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, Malawi, Mozambique, Russia, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Uganda.

Financing – rural funds

Many countries have created universal service funds to finance ICT development. Of particular interest are the models, which use “smart subsidies” to drive private sector investment. Other financing models include public-private partnerships (PPPs).

Sustainability

Cost, demand and revenue projections for voice and broadband networks in less viable areas are vital planning tools in determining the right policy intervention and for identifying the government assistance that may be required to develop viable operations and services.

Regulation

The success of UAS broadband policies depends on an enabling regulatory framework. Spectrum frequency, licensing, media content, infrastructure sharing, and properly-priced access to international gateways are among the main regulatory issues to be resolved.

ICT Regulation Toolkit

Intelecon developed Module 4: Universal Access & Service for infoDev and the ITU, which is part of the web-based best practice ICT Regulation Toolkit, available at: http://icttoolkit.infodev.org/en/Index.html. This covers the key concepts and latest UAS trends, enabling regulatory measures, description and analysis of UAS models and approaches, how to guide on UAS policy development and role of broadband, financing sources and mechanisms, programme development, competitive procurement and subsidy bidding, and technology.

Typical elements of our UAS Broadband assistance include:

  • Sector analysis (ICT market, socio-demographics, economy, sector policy and regulation);
  • Stakeholder and industry consultation;
  • Policy development;
  • Revising and drafting new regulatory instruments (including Universal Service Funds);
  • Demand studies;
  • UAS and Broadband strategy and program development;
  • Designing, managing and evaluating competitive bidding processes;
  • Pilot implementation, monitoring and evaluation;
  • National program implementation; and,
  • Program review, analysis and recommendations for next phase.