The meaning of universal service in telecommunications has changed considerably in the last decade. Technological advances have created the necessity to redefine the legal framework. While the demand for old universal services falls, new and wider services are to be included in the scope of legal obligations such as broadband. In this transformation of public policy toward universal services, political preferences take precedence over economic considerations. Turkey provides a good case in point. In this paper, the authors assess the legal framework of universal services and its institutional structure in Turkey. The tension between enlarging the scope of universal service and pressures on using revenues efficiently is emphasized. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.