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In addressing the issues of disparity and inconsistency of implementation throughout the sector, the Agency intends to engage in a process of developing a national strategy on Universal Access and Universal Service that will ensure appropriate identification of consumer needs in rural; underdeveloped; under-serviced and un-serviced areas, consider their levels of affordability, propose a model suitable enough to ensure that both basic and advanced ICT services are available, accessible and affordable to all the people of South Africa.
Overall Project Objectives
(a) to develop a National Universal Access and Service Strategy that to inform the Agency and its stakeholders on programmes, policies and the concomitant modus operandi to ensure that ICTs are available, accessible and affordable to all people within the country;
(b) to assist the Agency in identifying priority geographical areas those need urgent attention;
(c) to provide for a methodology and approach to attract private investment for the provision of both basic and advanced ICT services to rural, un-served and under-serviced areas within the Republic;
(d) to provide a foundation for the Agency to address the current gaps which prevail in respect of optimal levels of Universal Service and Universal Access in the Republic of South Africa ;
(e) for quantification of the access gaps by taking a closer look at access and service levels, current usage and uptake levels, ICT needs and affordability levels;
(f) for identification of public access models including the review of the Under-Serviced Arial Licenses (USALs) Model;
(g) for costing access gaps and review percentage contributions by operators towards Universal Service and Access Fund (USAF).
(h) to establish a monitoring and evaluation framework in order to assess the extent in which universal access and universal service has been achieved within the Republic.
The Agency has operated, administered and utilised the Fund without such a manual ever since it was established in 1997. In its strategic intent to be more effective and efficient going forward, the Agency has prioritised the development of this manual, hence the project.
Overall Project Objectives
i. to put in place standard operation procedure and manual (guidelines) for the Fund as it is deemed to be public funds in terms of Schedule 3A of PFMA;
ii. to provide a procedural system and guidelines for Universal Service and Access Fund in order to operationalise the purpose the Fund as intended for based on best practice;
iii. for actualization of the overall objectives of the Universal Service and Access Fund;
iv. to enable the Agency to comply with good governance, accountability and transparency in administrating the grants or subsidies in the Universal Service and Access Fund;
v. to provide efficient and effective means of disbursing grants and subsidies in the Universal Service and Access Fund; and
vi. to provide an effective tool to be used to audit the spending of monies in the Fund as set out in section 91.