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Previous USO subsidies & funding arrangements

The universal service obligation (USO) was the obligation placed on universal service providers to ensure that standard telephone services (STS), payphones and prescribed carriage services are reasonably accessible to all people in Australia on an equitable basis, wherever they reside or carry on business.


On 1 July 2012, the Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency (TUSMA) was established and the previous Universal Service Obligation and the National Relay Service levies were replaced with a single levy, the Telecommunications Industry Levy (TIL) imposed under the Telecommunications (Industry Levy) Act 2012. The TIL together with government funding, covered TUSMA’s costs for the implementation and administration of service contracts or grants to deliver universal service and other public policy telecommunications outcomes.

On 1 July 2015, TUSMA was abolished and its functions transferred to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (Department). The abolition of TUSMA is in line with the Australian Government’s agenda of cutting red tape to reduce the regulatory burden on industry and increases industry certainty by having a single agency responsible for policy and implementation (contract management) of telecommunications universal service matters. 

The process for assessing and collecting the TIL is no longer contained in the Telecommunications Universal Service Management Agency Act 2012 (TUSMA Act), but instead is dealt with under the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 (the TCPSS Act). A combination of funds raised under the TIL and dedicated government funding will continue to be used to meet the costs of service contracts or grants to deliver universal service and other public policy telecommunications outcomes (with the contracts and grants administered by the Department).


On 24 February 2012, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (the Minister) directed the ACMA to provide advice on USO subsidies for the 2011-12 financial year.

On 28 May 2012, the ACMA provided the USO subsidies advice to the Minister. On 12 June 2012, the Minister set the Universal Service Obligations subsidies for 2011-12.

The following Determinations set out the subsidy levels:


The assessment of each participating persons' eligible revenue for the 2010-11 eligible revenue period was used to calculate each participating person’s 2011-12 universal service obligation levy.

The link below provides the ACMA’s assessment of levies payable by each participating person and the universal service provider’s entitlement for the 2011-12 claim period.

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