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UK’s lays out universal service law

Joint IIC - Italian Chapter and Agcom workshop

The design of the UK's new universal service obligation (USO) for broadband has been specified in law, reports The UK government said the new USO would “ensure high speed broadband access for the whole of the UK by 2020”. The Electronic Communications (Universal Service) (Broadband) Order 2018 came into force on 23 April. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) said that “only premises that do not have a connection which meets the USO specification, or are unlikely to be connected under publicly funded procurements which meet the minimum specification, will be eligible to be connected” under the initiative, up to a reasonable cost threshold. Secondary legislation containing the detail of how the USO is designed was laid before the UK parliament after the DCMS earlier published its response to a consultation it held on the plans. The USO for broadband is made up of several components, the main feature of which is a right for property owners in the UK to have access to broadband services with minimum download speeds of 10 Mbps. “Additional quality parameters” are also mandated, including minimum upload speeds of 1 Mbps, restrictions on the sharing of bandwidth across customers, a duty to minimise delays in the transmission of data over the broadband networks, and a requirement to allow customers to download at least 100 GB of data every month under the service on offer. The USO will not apply where the cost of providing access to a premises would exceed £3,400; however, a “demand aggregation” model will apply to “ensure as many people who want to get connected, do get connected”, and property owners falling outside the £3,400 threshold would be able to obtain a satellite connection or alternatively pay the excess cost themselves to become connected, the DCMS said. “Uniform pricing” will also apply so that those connected under the USO scheme “do not pay more for their broadband than others pay for comparable services in non-USO areas”, it said. Read more

  • Thursday, 26 April 2018

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