Manual of Operations Procedures


 Universal Access Program


(Part of Task 6 - Recommendations on the Optimum Utilization of the TDF)

1. Introduction

Afghanistan began its telecommunications reconstruction program in 2002 and started putting a new national telecommunications infrastructure in place. At that time, Afghanistan had no telecommunications and no Internet services or facilities. The Minister of Communications set in motion a strategy to use information and communications technologies as essential elements to stimulate economic activity in all public and private sectors.

The Government’s Telecommunications Policy is to enable the rapid growth of affordable communications to all Afghans, whoever they may be and wherever they may live.  As of 2008, in addition to the incumbent Afghan Telecom, four cellular companies, several fixed local service providers, and about 20 Internet service providers operate in Afghanistan. Fixed telephone density has reached approximately 3 lines per 1000 inhabitants, and cellular penetration has reached over 25 subscribers per 100 inhabitants. However, this development has occurred primarily in cities, and most rural areas continue without adequate telecommunications facilities. 

Improving rural connectivity is a major priority, in particular for the national telecom development policy promulgated by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT)1. The Afghan Telecommunications Law2 states that the Afghan Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ATRA) shall establish access to telecommunications services and shall ensure its availability. The Telecommunications Development Fund (TDF) was established in 2003 as a means to achieve universal access, and as a tool to remedy the inadequacy of rural telecommunications facilities.


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