BT and KCOM named as the USPs by Ofcom

The regulating authority Ofcom has brought a proposal that BT & KCOM are being named as the Universal Service Providers. The appointment is as per the Government’s new Universal Service Obligation to make it possible from 2020 to cater slow speed areas to get atleast 10 mbps broadband. They aim to focus on last 1-2% of premises in the country where the areas could not have the possibility of getting 24 Mbps+ superfast broadband network by the year 2020.

The USO is not an automatic provision and those required should make for an upgradation request. It helps people to give legal right to ask for 10 Mbps+ connection, for those in the poorly served areas where there is no chance of future upgrades possible.

Once the USO has been requested for & approved, it will take maximum one year for installation of such connection. The providers also required 30 days to assess the eligibility of a customer for the USO. The USO will be funded by ISPs via a new Universal Service Fund. They will also adopt uniform pricing irrespective of the location with a maximum cap of £45 per month VAT inclusive.

Ofcom’s criteria

  • The providers should manage finance for the delivery of service and maintain it between deployment and any compensation.
  • The proposed geographic coverage area covers 5000+ eligible premises.
  • The technology used should meet the technical specification framed in the legislation.

Before few months, Ofcom declared that BT(Openreach), Broadway Partners, Hyperoptic, KCOM and Quickline had shown a serious interest in becoming an USO. But Ofcom has decided that BT, KCOM and Hyperoptic have satisfied their eligibility criteria whereas Hyperoptic has withdrawn its interest recently.

The current proposal will get closed on February 13, 2019. Then the authority plans to publish their final decision by early summer during 2019. Hence the customers can expect to make their request from the end of 2019.

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