UK Announces Universal Service Obligation for Broadband

05.01.2018

In December the UK government announced that British homes and businesses will have a legal right to high-speed broadband, of at least 10 Mb/s, by 2020. The new Universal Service Obligation (USO) is a UK-wide measure, intended to fill the gap left by the UK Government’s existing broadband roll-out programs, to deliver broadband connections to the hardest to reach premises in the UK.

Genesis is primed to play a critical role in helping the government achieve the recently announced, legally-binding, USO which promises to address the more than 1 million homes currently receiving a very poor connection.

In parallel to preparing for field trials in the US, Genesis has moved forward with commercially developing its long reach technology. The Genesis Digital Broadband Extender (DBE), will enable both mBond and DSL Rings to be delivered over greater distances to enterprises and homes respectively.

The UK USO announcement followed the government's rejection of British Telecom’s proposal to voluntarily deliver a universal service on its own terms and the government’s decision to provide everyone in the UK with a legal right to broadband”.

This has been welcome news for organisations representing rural interests in the UK such as the CLA (Country Land and Business Association) which represents rural home owners and businesses, who have seen first-hand how difficult it is for rural communities to get fast broadband.

Digital minister, Matt Hancock, said the rollout would not mean high-speed broadband was automatically delivered to every property. “It’s about having the right to demand it. It’s an on-demand programme. If you don’t go on the internet and aren’t interested then you won’t phone up and demand this,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. “The ‘access’ is being able to demand it.” Hancock admitted the UK still lagged many parts of the world in terms of broadband speeds.

The USO means that when consumers request a connection the universal service provider) will be obliged to build all reasonable requests up to a cost threshold (£3,400 proposed). The USO is expected to be funded by a cost-sharing industry fund.

Ofcom said more than 1m “forgotten homes” across the UK were unable to get sufficiently fast broadband to meet a typical family’s needs, such as streaming films or music. Rural families were more likely to be left behind, with 17% of homes not receiving decent internet, compared with 2% in cities and towns.

Genesis is primed to play a critical role in helping the government achieve this recently announced, legally-binding, USO which promises to address the more than 1 million homes currently receiving a very poor connection.

In parallel to preparing for field trials in the US, Genesis is moving forward with commercially developing its long reach technology, discussed earlier, that will enable both mBond and DSL Rings to be delivered over greater distances to enterprises and homes respectively.

Commenting on the USO announcement Peter Khoury Genesis CEO stated: “The UK is setting a great example for the rest of the world in mandating a minimal level of superfast broadband for all – which is the Genesis vision and the premise on which the company was founded. Achieving the USO will offer enormous socio-economic benefits to UK communities that currently have poor Internet service by allowing effective teleworking, telemedicine and new opportunities in education.”