The Italian regulatory authority AGCOM has today published a decision (dating back to 8 April 2004) to invite interested parties to express their views on its provisional conclusions on the net cost of universal service in the year 2002, and the mechanism for sharing the net cost among operators.
The AGCOM assesses the net cost to be €37.2m, taking into account the advantages to Telecom Italia from being the universal service provider. This amount is broken down as follows: €27m for voice telephony in unprofitable areas, €3.8m for voice telephony to unprofitable users, €8.1m for public payphones, and €0.22m to cover the work to calculate the net cost, with a negative amount of €1.8m for one additional category.
One of the key questions put out to public consultation is whether AGCOM should or should not continue its policy from previous years of exempting operators whose turnover is less than 1% of the Italian telecommunications market from contributing to the Universal Service Fund. AGCOM proposes to continue this policy for 2002, which would imply that only Telecom Italia, Telecom Italia Mobile, Vodafone Omnitel and Wind TLC would have to contribute, and other operators would be exempted from contributing.
T-REGS Note: The new Communications Code, which transposed the EU Directives, allows for this policy to be continued.