Ofcom have announced the launch of a consultation, set to decide whether operators should be allowed the responsibility of providing the governments broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO).
The USO is a promise made by the government to deliver universally accessible broadband in the UK. This is said to be able to guarantee speeds of 10Mbps, and uploads of 1Mbps to every citizen by 2020. Finland made it a universal right in 2010 to have internet access, with the guarantee of at least 1Mbps.
The consultation taking place will analyse which firm is able to deliver services that meet the USO requirements. Ofcom is aiming to deliver the USO as soon as possible to ensure homes and businesses see the benefit, with costs kept low.
At the moment around 95 percent of the population have access to superfast broadband (24 Mbps download). Critics of the plan have said that the USO is not able to provide an acceptable minimum download speed. They say 10Mbs is hardly fast enough for anything other than the most basic web searching.
As of yet the USO has received an indifferent reception. Just five internet service providers have expressed an interest in being able to deliver the USO service – Openreach, KCOM, Hyperoptic, Quickline and Broadway Partners. This goes to show just how unsure the reception really is.