Detailed regulations are typically required, irrespective of whether a new or revised law is necessary, for the implementation of a universal access and service (UAS) policy.
The following describes the issues which must be covered by regulatory documentation, once the design of the UAS policy has been decided upon:
- Detailed network and service objectives for the regulator or agency to implement the UAS policy;
- Detailed institutional implementation arrangements such as establishing a specific UAS department or directorate within the regulator, or establishing a separate implementing agency;
- The functions to be fulfilled in developing a detailed UAS programme– e.g., defining and zoning areas of the country to determine those which are served, unserved, commercially viable, non-viable, setting strategy, determining priorities, designing projects, monitoring outcomes, etc.;
- Guidelines, principles and procedures of the UAS implementation, any supervisory or monitoring board, or consultative committee (whichever style of direction is chosen);
- Responsibilities such as UAS programme approval, official sign-off on UAS disbursements, and other detailed accountabilities;
- Details on plans for UAS programme annual reports, their implementation, success and challenges, progress towards the UAS objectives and their public dissemination;
- Provisions for periodic reviews of the UAS policy, objectives, strategies and the regulation in case changes in the market or policy-environment require updates.
In case a Universal Access and Service Fund (UASF) is to be established, the following additional regulations are typically required:
- Detailed rules on process and eligibility for UASF disbursement;
- Specific financial regulations, including the holding and investment of UASF funds, eligible costs and expenses, limits on operational and administrative costs, and financial control, reporting and independent auditing; and
- Detailed accounting rules for operators in order to establish the correct UASF licensee levy.
Section 5.3 Institutional issues: Managing and organizing a UASF describes in detail the various issues, options and requirements from a financial and organizational perspective.
Depending on the country’s context and legal and regulatory traditions, the above details could also be contained in any of the following regulatory documents, which could in effect be equivalent except in name. These documents are:
- UASF administrative rules and guidelines;
- UASF executive guidelines; and
- UASF manual of operating procedures.
Typically, rules and guidelines are binding regulatory documents, though as stated in the previous section, they can be revised through regulatory decisions or the preparation of succeeding regulations. A manual might have considerable overlap with some of the contents of regulations listed above, but it may be a more practical guide, containing details on staffing, selection of UAS projects for those implementing the policy and administering the fund. An example outline for this kind of document is provided in Practice Note Outline Manual of Operating Procedures.