Broadband universal service providers named by OfcomSarah Shepherd
Ofcom has set out its thinking for which providers should be delivering the Government’s Universal Service Order to allow for decent broadband connections across the UK. This consultation follows on from a summer request for interested providers to put themselves forward. As a result, Ofcom proposes to designate BT as the Universal Service Provider for the whole of the UK bar Hull which will be served by KCOM.
Ofcom lists the eligibility criteria for businesses and consumers currently not getting a decent broadband connection (stipulated as download speeds of 10Mbit/s and an upload one of 1Mbit/s) and the conditions that the providers will have to meet – covering both time frames, cost and quality of the service.
With the consultation set to run until February 2019, Ofcom hopes to be in a place to publish a statement by the summer on the final designation and conditions with a further consultation on the funding thereof over the summer. This digital safety net should be up and running by the end of 2019.
It will fall to Ofcom to balance the need to ensure that the requirement to get the USO out into the market does not conflict with the outside-in approach for full-fibre deployment that the Government will begin trialling also in 2019.