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By Jacqueline B. Glasthal

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Private Cost-Benefit Analysis To obtain the private net present value (NPV) o f each project, costs and revenues attributable to the project and accruing to the operating company during the 10 years o f required service are forecast and discounted at prevailing interest rates. Projects with a negative private NPV would result in a loss and presumably would not be undertaken unless the operator i s compensated for the loss. Projects whose private NPV i s zero would just recover all costs, including the cost of capital; those whose NPV i s greater than zero would result in surplus profits.

31 Low-Income Urban Areas Although the Fund was intended to extend payphone service in low-income urban areas as well as in rural areas, in practice no urban payphones have been supported b y the Fund. I t remains unclear whether there was no need for Fund support or, rather, that the process for deciding on locations and estimating private net costs was flawed. Most requests for urban payphones were found to have a positive expected private NPV, which rendered them ineligible for funding because they would be viable on their own, yet few were subsequently installed by the telephone companies.

A survey o f regional authorities in 1998 confirmed the inadequacy o f the institutional and budgetary arrangements for them to play a more substantial role. Although SUBTEL has since placed greater emphasis on dissemination o f the Fund and consultation with regional authorities, these structural flaws remain largely unresolved. The 1998 survey identified the need for local authorities to keep the population informed o f the status o f applications-which places had been selected, when operators should tender bids, award results, deadlines for implementation, progress o f works.

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