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Broadband: Universal Service Obligation

Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport written question – answered on 5th November 2019.

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Photo of Chris Elmore Chris Elmore Opposition Whip (Commons)

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what progress her Department has made on meeting the target to implement the Universal Service Obligation for broadband by March 2020.

Photo of Matt Warman Matt Warman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

We consulted on the specification for a broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) in 2017. DCMS published the outcome and response to this consultation in March 2018, and laid the relevant secondary legislation - the Electronic Communications (Universal Service) Order 2003 before parliament at the same time.

Ofcom is responsible for implementing the USO. This includes designating a Universal Service Provider(s), setting and enforcing the Universal Service Conditions that apply to the providers (such as how quickly connections must be delivered) and establishing an industry cost sharing fund.

Ofcom has conducted several consultations on the USO, and is working with the Universal Service Providers, BT and KCOM, as part of the implementation process that it is undertaking. Eligible consumers will be able to request a broadband USO connection directly from BT and KCOM respectively from March 2020.

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