Power and "universal service"

A very persuasive posting by Russel Southwood of Balancing Act today points out that "universal service" agencies, who - according to the World Bank - are sitting on $4500m of unspent funds, should use this money to simply expand the power grid in rural areas, especially in Africa. According to Russel the cost of providing power generators for mobile base stations in areas where there is no or an unreliable electric grid, makes these base stations around 10 times more expensive than those in developed aread. SA's agency apparently has a new executive who is (sic) feeling the shoes of Ms. Cassandra Gabriel (Chairperson of the Board)... The only other item of news from 2007 on USA's homepage is about the relocation of offices in March - and one can only pray that the move went well. This agency is well placed, given the lack of action from the other regulators, to undermine the telecommunications oligopoly operating in South Africa. Will they?

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