188.8.131.52 Universal service funds
Universal service funds can be a source of financing in some countries. These funds, generally administered by the nation’s telecommunication regulator, are composed of contributions from operator revenues. They are normally designed to defray the costs of providing telecommunication services in remote or rural areas, or to subsidize services for low-income users. Universal service funds have been used in several countries to finance the acquisition of computers for schools:
- In Colombia, the Computers for Education project draws on the country’s universal service fund to distribute recycled computers to schools. 159 More than 14,000 schools have benefited from the project, which has distributed more than 200,000 computers.
- In Morocco, the universal service fund is used to finance the country’s GENIE program, which installs computer labs in schools. In 2006, the program financed the distribution of more than 27,000 computers in more than 1,800 schools, reaching some 1.4 million students. 160
- In Nigeria, a tender was issued in 2009, inviting bids to install 100 PCs in each of 550 secondary schools across the country. The project will be financed by the Universal Service Provision Fund. 161