FOCUS Magazine of the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee (CDCC)
In recent years, governments have expanded the use of Universal Service Funds (USFs) as a source of funding for public investment in socially beneficial ICT projects, such as initiatives aimed at expanding ICT access to underserved members of society.
For example, in Jamaica, the USF has been used to support the Community Access Point project, which has enabled the establishment of over 200 computer labs across the country. In Saint Lucia, the USF is being used to fund the purchase of broadband equipment and related services at libraries and Community Access Centres.
In Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, in addition to supporting over 150 public internet access points and providing subsidized internet access to lowincome households, the USF has been used to fund programmes on mobile applications development and cyber security at Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Community College.
In Caribbean countries, USFs are commonly funded through a surtax on the use of telecommunications services. Commonly, the tax is levied as a per-minute charge on telephone calls, such as in Barbados, where an excise duty is attached to cellular phone calls at a rate equivalent to 1.5 US cents per minute. In Jamaica, the USF is funded through a similar duty, as well as an additional charge attached to incoming international calls.