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Universal Service is a mechanism to allow, in the long term, access to the entire Moroccan population to basic telecommunication services: telephony and internet. Carrying out the tasks of the Universal Service was one of the foundations of the reform of the telecommunications sector in 1998, and is today one of the major projects undertaken by the National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ANRT).

The Telecommunications Universal Service Management Committee is an interdepartmental committee established at the Head of Government, and is composed of:

  • The government authority responsible for the Interior affairs;
  • The government authority responsible for Spatial Planning;
  • The government authority responsible for Finance;
  • The government authority responsible for Telecommunications;
  • The government authority responsible for National Defense;
  • The Chairman of ANRT's Management;
  • The President of the ANRT.

The Chairman of the Committee may invite to CGSUT meetings, any governmental authority or agency concerned with the agenda and the work of the Committee.

Missions of the Committee

The Management Committee of the Telecommunications Universal Service is responsible for:

  • Determining the programs for the implementation of universal service in the country, according to the priorities set;
  • Offering for each call for tenders the contents of the "universal service in accordance with the provisions of the aforementioned Law No. 24-96;
  • Considering the existing programs offered by public telecommunications network operators;
  • Approving the draft specifications for competitive bidding for programs not made by the existing operators of public telecommunications networks as submitted by the ANRT.

The committee shall prepare an annual report of its activities and the progress of the implementation of programs falling under universal service.

Funding of the Universal Service is provided by the FSUT, created for this purpose under the Finance Act of 2005. The FSUT is financed through contributions of telecom operators (at about 2% of their turnover). The fund may also receive any contribution such as donations and bequests allocated in the development of universal telecommunications service programs.

Law No. 55-01 above has extended the scope of the Universal Service to be redefined as a telecommunications service, not just a telephone service, by including the provision of value added services including those allowing internet access.

This new definition includes:

  • At a minimum, a basic telephone service of a specified quality at an affordable price;
  • Mandatory services, consisting of the delivery of emergency calls, providing an information service and in a printed or electronic directory ;
  • Services related to land use, including providing the country with telephone booths and/or servicing by means of telecommunications in peripheral urban areas, industrial areas and rural areas;
  • Value-added services including services promoting internet access.

The Telecommunications Universal Service in Morocco is governed by Law No. 24-96 of Aug 7, 1997, as amended and supplemented by Law No. 55-01 of November 8, 2004. This has been complemented by the adoption of Decree No. 2-97-1026 dated February 25, 1998, as amended and supplemented by Decree No. 2-05-771 dated July 13, 2005, and by the specifications of operators of public telecommunications networks.

Through these provisions, the legislature has established rules for managing Universal Service, and by a clear definition of mechanisms for its implementation. Thus, the following works were carried out:

  • Expanding the scope of Universal Service to include land-use planning missions and value-added services, specially those promoting internet access;
  • Establishing an Interdepartmental Committee called the "Universal Service Telecommunications Management Committee (CGSUT)", which is primarily responsible for the definition and validation of the Universal Service program to implement;
  • Creating a special Fund called "Universal Service Telecommunications Management Committee" (FSUT). This fund will support all of the Universal Service programs approved by CGSUT;
  • Clarification of how to achieve the Universal Service mission by Public Telecommunications Networks  Operators (ERPTs).

The "pay or play" mechanism, chosen by the Moroccan legislator offers existing ERPTs two ways to participate in carrying out the Universal Service mandate: ERPTs can either pay their financial contributions to the universal Service Fund or carry out the Universal Service missions established by the CGSUT.

ERPTs, having chosen to perform Universal Service tasks by themselves, may submit to the judgment of CGSUT their Universal Service program proposals. Once validated, the conditions of program achievements are established in a particular set of specifications.

For programs defined by the CGSUT under a government development strategy for Universal Service, a competitive bidding pursuant to Law No. 24-96, as amended and supplemented, will be launched to determine the operator to be responsible with implementing these programs.