Portugal’s National Communications Authority (Autoridade Nacional de Comunicacoes, ANACOM) has confirmed that there is no longer a justification for identifying universal service providers within the fixed line sector, due to decreased usage levels. Instead, the watchdog hopes to channel the spare funding into universal broadband provision, or will consider reducing existing tariffs.
The scheme has attracted EUR23.8 million (USD28.0 million) worth of funding over the last five years, but there are only said to be two fixed line customers currently benefitting from universal service provisions. Further, during 2016 and 2017 the average use of payphones dropped to just two calls a day, with ‘illicit calls’ accounting for the bulk of payphone usage. Going forward, ANACOM notes that all existing services will be maintained by the operators, and the relevant markets will continue to be monitored.