Ofcom sets the date for the USO – will this help you get better broadband?
Ofcom has set an implementation date for its new Universal Service Obligation (USO), which could enable thousands of homes and businesses to benefit from faster broadband speeds.
Under the agreement, which is part of the UK government’s ‘universal broadband service’, everyone in the UK will have the legal right to request a reliable and affordable broadband connection, and it will take effect in March 2020 .
What is the USO?
Under the USO, households must be able to access an affordable broadband connection that can provide download speeds of at least 10 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 1 Mbps by next year.
If not, they will be able to submit a request to have their eligibility verified for a USO connection, with the option to have their broadband service upgraded if they are not to receive service from a funded program. by the state within the Next year.
It is estimated that around 620,000 homes and offices located in some of the most remote parts of the UK could benefit from the rollout of the initiative.
Who will implement the USO?
Ofcom has decided that BT will be responsible for connecting properties all over Britain except Hull, where arrangements will be covered by KCOM.
Businesses will have until March 20, 2020 to start making the necessary preparations and changes to their systems that will create new connections, after which requests will start to arrive.
Once the request is made, BT or KCOM will have 30 days to verify whether that particular customer is eligible or not. If they already have good broadband access at an affordable price or will soon be covered by a new connection, the request will be refused.
However, if they are eligible, the cost of providing a new connection will be covered up to the price of £ 3,400. If the necessary works exceed this threshold, the customer can either pay the difference or seek an alternative such as satellite broadband.
Anyone connected through the USO initiative will pay the same price as other broadband customers with equivalent connections.
A vital safety net
Ofcom’s consumer group director Lindsey Fussell said the upcoming work would provide a safety net in terms of a better communications infrastructure.
“This will be vital for people who are struggling to get the broadband they need,” she added.
Currently, around 95% of homes and small businesses can access super-fast broadband with download speeds of at least 30 Mbps.
However, a recent study from Uswitch.com found that 26% of households struggle with speeds below 10Mbps, while 13% can only manage a paltry 5Mbps.
Two percent of homes and offices are deemed unable to access decent, affordable broadband, the vast majority of which are in remote rural areas which may also be underserved by other infrastructure and therefore feel more and more isolated.
Ofcom also discovered last year that many homes do not have broadband fast enough to cope with what are now considered the internet needs of a typical family, such as watching TV series via streaming services or downloading movies.
Indeed, in the UK’s slowest street with an average download speed of just 0.14 Mbps, it would take over 100 hours to download a two-hour HD movie on Netflix, which is likely to be extremely off-putting to many.
Slow speeds would also impact the use of sites like YouTube, which the average Briton now spends almost half an hour a day.
With the demand for Internet services such as video and streaming expected to grow over the next few years, this new initiative being rolled out under the watchful eye of Ofcom could certainly prove to be the safety net for which many many people need to keep them from falling. the flaws in the provision of good broadband services.