Broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) moves one step closer

28 March 2018

The Government has announced that the legislation has been laid setting the design of the broadband USO. The USO is intended to provide a “digital safety net” for those in the most remote and hardest to reach places.

The specification for the USO design includes:

  • A download speed of at least 10Mbps, with quality requirements for upload speeds, responsiveness of connections, and data cap; this could be delivered by a range of fixed line and wireless technologies
  • A per premises cost threshold of £3,400, enabling coverage to around 99.8% of premises. Consumers outside this threshold will be able to get a satellite connection, or would have the option to cover the excess themselves (in the same way the universal service right to a landline telephone works)
  • A requirement for demand aggregation, so that people within an area can combine their per premise cost thresholds, to ensure that as many people who want to get connected do get connected
  • For it to be funded by industry rather than public funding; and
  • Uniform pricing so that those connected under the USO do not have to pay more for similar services to consumers served commercially.

 Ofcom now has up to 2 years to implement the scheme.

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