30 Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO) – Achievable or over ambitious?

Posted on Mar 21 2017 by Neil Watson | No Comments

Last month we learned that the seemingly ever-changing Digital Economy Bill has been subjected to yet another last minute amendment. This time, following its debate in the House of Lords, Lord Mendelsohn successfully proposed increasing the existing 10Mbps USO to 30Mbps – with 6Mbps upload – by 2020. But is delivering 30Mbps by that date realistically possible and is it a necessary requirement, or over-ambitious overkill?

The initial plan was for the current BDUK programme to hit its expected 97% coverage by 2020 and then the 10Mbps USO would ensure the same minimum level of connectivity for the remaining 3%. Whilst specific methods and technologies have not yet been confirmed by Ofcom, achieving the existing 10Mbps USO is widely accepted as realistically possible via a variety of technologies that are expected to be delivered predominantly by BT, albeit with other providers in the mix. However, delivering a minimum service of 30 Mbps to 100% of the UK is a whole new ball game!

Whilst we welcome the desire to increase speeds for consumers and encourage network investment across the industry, we believe this should be achieved through technological developments, not Government-imposed demands.

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Will rural customers be left out in the cold again?

Posted on Jan 31 2017 by Darren Farnden | No Comments

Just when we thought things were looking up for rural customers suffering from low speeds and poor service with the Government’s 10Mbps USO plans, it looks like a spanner has been thrown into the works by Sky Broadband’s new advertising approach.

It was recently reported by ISPReview.co.uk that Sky Broadband has changed their Internet access packages and will no longer sell broadband (of any type) to customers unable to support a Minimum Access Line Speed (MALS) of 2Mbps.

Why? Well, this news follows recent changes to the providers’ advertising approach where they now promote average speeds as opposed to the more prevalent ‘up to’ speed approach used by the majority of the industry (including Sky previously).

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5 truths about the broadband rollout

Posted on Apr 05 2016 by Paul Heritage-Redpath | 1 Comment

An attempt to get the hashtag ‘they don’t get that in the Rhondda’ to trend on Twitter helped to raise the profile of how rural communities are fast becoming the ‘have nots’ in many aspects of modern society. Contributions to the tag varied from takeaway pizza to taxi availability after dark to the lack of fibre optic broadband. While entertaining, the underlying message is serious and one that the communications industry has been debating for years – how to ensure connectivity parity between urban and rural communities.

The Superfast Broadband Programme – announced by Prime Minister David Cameron back in 2010 – aims to level the playing field by bringing fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) connectivity to at least 95% of the UK by the end of the 2017. This spring has seen a flurry of press activity around Phase One completions (i.e. counties achieving their 90% coverage target) demonstrating that BT and BDUK are on target with the rollout, but consumers continue to feel duped and disappointed that the reality doesn’t match up to their expectations. And for this the Government needs to accept some responsibility.

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2015 – The year in review

Posted on Dec 15 2015 by Darren Farnden | No Comments

It’s certainly been an eventful year within the industry, with plenty of innovations and new technologies and trends emerging, an abundance of regulatory changes both UK and EU based, industry process changes with things like the new switching process and channel unrest with a clear backlash against BT’s relationship with Openreach. We’ve tried to keep you up to date and informed about the key issues that affect you and your customers as part of this fascinating channel, as well as providing useful eBooks and sales advice along the way too.

If you missed any of the blog this year and would like a quick recap, why not download our ‘2015- A year of Opinion in review’ eBook and have a catch up over the holidays. Simply enter your email address into the form field below to receive your free copy. 

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Will the new 10Mbps USO solve the final 5% issue?

Posted on Nov 17 2015 by Darren Farnden | No Comments

Following promises in the 2015 Budget back in March, the Government has finally confirmed plans to introduce a 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO) for all broadband services across the UK by 2020. With the Government already under pressure to complete the superfast broadband rollout to the final 5% of the UK’s most hard to reach communities, we ask will this latest USO help to achieve that goal or cause further issues?

Commenting on the plans Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Access to the Internet shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain. That is why I’m announcing a giant leap in my digital mission for Britain. Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we’re going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it. That’s right: we’re getting Britain – all of Britain – online, and on the way to becoming the most prosperous economy in the whole of Europe.”

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