Calling Out

Local payphone operators Tritel were given a subsidy of Rs. 1.3 mn Monday to set up pay phones in rural areas outside the Western Province.
At the rate of Rs. 50,000 a unit, this is part of an existing subsidy scheme launched last year by the Telecom Regulatory Commission (TRC) for all pay-phone operators. rn

rnInitially, a total of Rs. 50,000 was offered for all existing and prospective operators, for every rural (outside municipal and urban city limits) pay phone installed. rn

rnOperators are entitled to a subsidy for not more than 25 payphones per district and limited to the first hundred payphones installed in that area.rn

rnThe scheme was part of a TRC sponsored plan to provide greater access to communication facilities for rural people. rn

rnBut the response has been slightly lukewarm, with progress slow since the program was launched last year.rn

rnldblquote To date, a total of Rs. 10.75 mn has been handed out in subsidies to all operators to install 215 payphones in these regions