New Delhi: Department of telecom has waived the license fee on rural landlines to promote use of telephone in rural areas, where the usage of telecom services remain low, a move that will make the Government lose about Rs200 crore revenue per year.
“The decision is also intended to give a boost to e-governance through provision of more broadband services in villages, thus reducing the digital divide,” an official statement said.
“The Telecom Commission, in its latest meeting took this decision. The waiver will amount to Rs200 crore per year,” it added.
The Commission also decided to reduce the levy towards the Universal Service Obligation (USO) from the present five per cent to 3% of the Adjusted Ground Revenue (AGR) in the case of those telecom service providers, who have already covered more than 95% of rural areas.
The Universal Service Obligation Fund has been set up to create infrastructure support in rural and remote areas for providing telecommunications service to people at affordable and reasonable prices.
The latest decisions of the Telecom Commission are in line with the Government’s policy to promote rural telephony and accessibility of telephone in remote areas.
The aim is to achieve rural teledensity of 25% by means of 200 million rural connections at the end of the 11th Plan. The rural teledensity stood at 8% as on December 31, 2007.