Universal Service Obligation

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 2nd January 2015.

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Photo of George Howarth George Howarth Labour, Knowsley

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what time constraints would apply to Ofcom in conducting a review of the net cost of the Universal Service Obligation.

Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Department for Education) (Women and Equalities) , The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

Section 44 of the Postal Services Act 2011 covers “Review of costs of the universal service obligations”. Section 44(10) states that “Unless directed to do so by the Secretary of State, Ofcom may not carry out a review under this section before the end of 5 years beginning with the day this section came into force.”

This means that Ofcom cannot carry out such a review before October 2016 unless directed to do so by the Secretary of State.

After October 2016 Ofcom “may from time to time review the extent (if any) of the financial burden for a universal service provider of complying with its universal service obligations” [section 44(1)].

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