The Universal Service Fund (US Fund) is a system of subsidies and fees managed by the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA).The Fund is the Authority’s main regulatory tool for promoting universal access to ICT services in rural and underserved areas in the country. The Fund was established in response to the National ICT Policy of 2013 which put a deliberate policy statement aimed at making ICTs available and accessible to all the people throughout the country particularly those in rural and underserved areas.
The Fund was established through the Communications Act of 2016 which provides a legal framework for the US Fund establishment. The Act mandates the Authority to collect levies from all its licensees in the communications sector, allocate and disburse some part of the levy to address ICT access gap in the country. Read more.
Objective of the US Fund
The objective of the US Fund is to promote universal access to communications services which comprise of broadcasting, postal and telecommunications. It will fund deployment of communications infrastructure and service provision in rural and underserved areas where licensees may not be willing to invest due to lack of economic viability. The Fund will target areas where provision and access of services would otherwise be cost prohibitive. The Fund will enhance the reach of broadcasting, postal and telecommunications services to the underserved areas. The Fund will address both provision and the access of communication services in the rural and underserved areas.