New universal service fund near to launching

23 Dec 2005

The Argentine government plans to launch a new universal service fund (USF) before the end of the month, with the aim of raising ARS150 million (USD50 million) a year from 1% of revenues from all fixed telephony, long-distance and internet service providers, reports BNamericas. The fund is expected to be used to expand local telephony networks, including fixed and wireless in the local loop (WiLL) services in under-populated areas or regions considered less profitable. Argentina’s mobile operators already contribute to a USF, but telecom ministry SeCom ruled that they had raised tariffs to cover their contributions to the fund and in October ordered them to pay back ARS350 million (USD117 million). Argentina has over 8.5 million fixed lines in service, representing a penetration of around 22%.