The GSM Association (GMSA) is asking global governments and regulators to reassess their approaches to how their respective Universal Service Funds (USFs) are collected and disbursed. In part, its report estimates that more than one-third of the 64 funds surveyed have yet to disburse any of the contributions they have collected, and more than $11 billion remains undisbursed — money that could otherwise be used to extend rural coverage or lower the cost of mobile ownership. Other key findings: less than an eighth of the funds are achieving their targets; funds aren’t always allocated in a competitively and technologically neutral way; and “there is no evidence that USFs are an effective way to achieve universal service goals and in fact they may be counter-productive, as taxing commercial investors in such a way makes rural investments less likely.” The report also says Colombia’s USF plan is the best when it comes to USF administration.

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