11 November 2015

Government proposes Universal Service Obligation in relation to broadband

On 7 November 2015, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced that the government intends to introduce a Universal Service Obligation (USO) for broadband providers.  The USO would operate in the same way as USOs for other basic services such as water supply, electricity and postal service.  The USO provides that every person would be legally entitled to request a broadband connection of 10 Mbps or faster.  The government’s intention is to provide a “safety net” for all households and businesses, to ensure that they are able to do business online, as well as access key basic services or stream live television.

A broadband USO was first proposed in the government's March 2015 budget, where minimum connection speeds of 5 Mbps were mooted.  However, data produced by Ofcom on the typical data needs of a family or small business has led the government to increase the proposed minimum connection speed to 10 Mbps.  This minimum would likely increase over time as technology and demand evolve.

Exactly how the USO would operate remains uncertain.  A consultation is planned for early 2016, which should clarify how the proposals will be achieved and explain how their roll out will affect broadband providers.

The government also announced measures to foster transparency around broadband service.  Later this year, Ofcom will release a mobile app allowing consumers to “check if their home Wi-Fi is working as it should be”.  Next year, Ofcom plans to publish detailed address-level mobile and broadband speed data to inform people who may be moving home or starting a business of the connection speed in their new location.


Data Central

Have you checked out our new Data Hub? Data Central contains a range of resources to help our clients minimise the legal, regulatory and commercial risks this data-driven environment presents and ensure that its full value is being realised.

A Guide to Doing Business in China

We explore the key issues being considered by clients looking to unlock investment opportunities in the People’s Republic of China.

Doing Business in China
Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
    You might also be interested in

    We discusses recent developments and emerging trends in competition litigation involving the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

    28 November 2016

    The European Commission’s proposed Geo-Blocking Regulation fails to address some of the key e-commerce concerns the Commission had previously identified.

    21 June 2016

    This article was written by Andrew Morrison (associate) Ultra Finishings On 10 May 2016 the UK Competition and Markets Authority (the CMA) fined Ultra Finishing Limited (Ultra) £786,668 for...

    21 June 2016

    European Commission refrains from imposing regulations specifically targeting online platforms, for now. General EU e-commerce rules will however apply.

    20 June 2016

    This site uses cookies to enhance your experience and to help us improve the site. Please see our Privacy Policy for further information. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive these cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time.

    For more information on which cookies we use then please refer to our Cookie Policy.