Work has started on the broadband Universal Service Obligation and input is currently being sought from various providers in the industry.
A report has been requested by the government that will detail recommendations on the design of the USO, which must be completed by the end of the year. Ofcom is also looking for information from consumers. Information on demand, specifications, efficiency, providers, and funding has been requested.
The government is looking at different options for legislation on broadband provision, according to the culture secretary, John Whittingdale. Ofcom is due to submit a progress report on the analysis by August.
The government announced last year that a USO would be introduced. Both residential and business broadband customers will be able to request a broadband connection that delivers a minimum of 10Mbps, regardless of their location. This system would need to be in place by 2020.
At the present time, the current USO only demands a minimum speed of 28.8Kbps – similar to that of a dial-up service. Ofcom has confirmed that it will assist the government in setting up the new USO. The watchdog has said that it believes that the 10Mbps figure will increase over time.
Ofcom released a paper in February that said that it wants to establish competition in the provision of the USO with the right technology in each area. The service will also need to use the networks that are already in place where possible instead of replacing them or adding new ones.