USF amendment clears first hurdle

19 Oct 2006

Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, has approved amendments to legislation which covers payments to the universal services fund (USF). Currently operators pay 1.2% of their revenues to the fund, which helps pay for the development of telecoms networks in rural and unprofitable areas. The payment is based on the difference between a telco’s total revenue and its revenue from interconnection and traffic routing. The new amendment will exclude revenues from interconnection and traffic routing, according to Prime Tass, and will also set the share of revenues that must be transferred to the fund. The State Duma must approve the amendment at a further two readings before it is passed to the Federation Council for a single vote. The amendment is expected to be enacted at the start of next year.