REGULATORY

Ofcom Greenlights Funding Regulations For Universal Broadband Service Providers

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By Cyber Era Correspondent

Ofcom has confirmed rules on how universal broadband service providers, such as BT and KCOM, can make a request to claim back any unfair costs involved in providing a universal service.

In 2018, the UK Government introduced legislation for a broadband ‘universal service obligation’ (broadband USO) – a safety net that will give eligible homes and businesses the right to request a decent connection. The service launched on 20 March this year and anyone unable to get decent broadband – defined as download speeds of 10 Mbit/s and upload of 1 Mbit/s – can now make a request to be connected, subject to meeting the eligibility criteria.

Ofcom is responsible for implementing the broadband USO, including establishing an industry fund to compensate the Universal Service Providers for any unfair costs they incur when delivering the scheme.

Following consultation, the TMT regulator has now confirmed the regulations for the process of compensating Universal Service Providers. Under the regulations, Ofcom can assess requests for funding from Universal Service Providers and then determine whether the Universal Service Provider has incurred a net cost that is unfair, and establish an industry fund, including deciding who contributes to that fund.

These rules apply to the broadband universal service and any other universal service obligations.

Ofcom has also published advice on how members of the public can make a request for a USO connection.

Meanwhile, Ofcom has published consultations on applying the Electronic Communications Code to Redshelf Ltd and M 12 Solutions Limited under section 107(4) of the Communications Act 2003.

The Code is designed to facilitate the installation and maintenance of electronic communications networks, conferring rights which result in simplified planning procedures.

The consultations close on 22 June 2020.        

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