Ofcom’s call for expression of interest on USO by the ISPs

The communications regulator in the UK, Ofcom has invited the Internet Service Providers in the UK to express their interest as to become a supplier for the provision of Universal Service Obligation which enable the anyone in the poor/ slow speed area to ask for and get a minimum of 10 Mbps+ internet speed (downloand & upload). Ofcom aims to bring this from 2020.

It is expected that around 98% of the premises in the UK should get a fixed superfast broadband network of 24Mbps+ speed by 2020 and for the remaining uncovered areas, the new USO will be available to render them. The new USO service is not default upgrade and those required in the poor or low broadband speed areas where there is no plans of upgrades in the upcoming year, can request for a 10Mbps+ connection.

Specification – 10Mbps USO: Minimum download sync speed – at least 10Mbps, minimum upload sync speed – at least 10Mbps, minimum data allowance – 100GB, medium response time (end to end latency) – no more than 200ms for speech applications, technology neutrality design (through a mix of fibre and wireless solutions) & maximum sharing (contention ratio) among customers – 50:1.

The ofcom’s invitation to Expressions of Interest aims to get the interest of ISPs to become the suppliers of Universal Service Obligation whether providing service national wise or region wise and their delivery plans. Ofcom said that they will consider on bringing different service providers for different areas or a single provider for the entire nation which suits their objectives. But getting suppliers will not be easy process. As of now BT and KCOM have given their interest in this matter whereas others have rejected such a decision. But some of the small providers has shown their interest in the USO.

The new obligation would be funded through a Universal Service Fund by the industry and there is no clear details on amount of funding as of now. The regulator Ofcom has given timeline for expression of interest which can be given till August 20, 2018, followed by which the procedural part will take place for framing how to designate the USPs and decision on final list of service providers before this year end. But the regulator wants to take final decision in the next summer so that the consumers can apply for connections

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