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    Consumers Back Calls for a Universal Service Obligation on Broadband

    This is a discussion on Consumers Back Calls for a Universal Service Obligation on Broadband within the General Computing and Internet forums, part of the Community channel category; Consumers Back Calls for a Universal Service Obligation on Broadband - ISPreview UK The recent discussion over whether broadband should ...

    1. #1
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      Consumers Back Calls for a Universal Service Obligation on Broadband

      Consumers Back Calls for a Universal Service Obligation on Broadband - ISPreview UK
      The recent discussion over whether broadband should be added to a legally binding Universal Service Obligation has prompted us to conduct a survey, which found that out of 1,445 respondents some 71.5% supported the idea of imposing a USO on BT (or KC in Hull) to deliver fixed line broadband speeds of at least 2Mbps to all.

      The Government and BT are already working towards making superfast broadband (24Mbps+) speeds available to 95% of the United Kingdom by 2017 and a plan is also being worked on to tackle the final 5%. In the meantime there’s a somewhat conflicting Universal Service Commitment, which pledges to ensure that everybody can access a basic broadband speed of at least 2Mbps by early 2016.

      Sadly the USC is not legally binding like a USO and at present Ofcom’s related rules only mandate that BT and KC deliver, following the “reasonable request of any End-user“, a telephone service that includes the ability to offer “data rates that are sufficient to permit functional internet access” (here); technically that could include ancient dialup.

      However support for the idea of introducing a broadband USO suffers a significant hit once consumers are asked to help pay for its introduction. Imposing a USO could increase the cost of service delivery because operators might need to hire additional engineering staff, improve support and conduct further network development.

      Should the UK impose a legally binding Universal Service Obligation (USO) on BT to deliver fixed line broadband speeds of at least 2Mbps to all?


      Yes – 71.5%
      No – 20.6%
      Maybe – 7.8%

      Would you accept a small increase (i.e. around £1 per month) in the price of your broadband in return for a USO?


      No – 49.8%
      Yes – 40.7%
      Maybe – 9.4%

      Would you accept a larger price rise (i.e. +£2 to £3) if the USO pledged a minimum speed of 10Mbps?


      No – 45.9%
      Yes – 42%
      Maybe – 12%

      Clearly there are positives to introducing a USO and other countries have already gone down this road, much to the annoyance of various telecom operators. At the same time there’s always the risk that introducing such a measure could impact competition and help to entrench the already incumbent providers, which might make it harder for rivals to enter the market.

      Never the less we do think that now would be a good time for politicians to start seriously looking at the issue, not least with regards to the potential impact upon service costs and competition. One approach could be for this to be done with a view to reflecting a post-BDUK deployment market, so that the existing infrastructure can be made ready before a USO is introduced.

      We suspect that many of the issues with introducing a USO could be solved by taking a common sense and logical approach to regulation, but perhaps that would be asking too much of our political leaders.

      Meanwhile this month’s new survey asks whether the quality of an ISP’s bundled broadband router is enough to impact your choice of provider? Vote Here.


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    3. #2
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      Re: Consumers Back Calls for a Universal Service Obligation on Broadband

      I would fully support a USO to provide me with a Bently Continental GT, provided somebody else pays for it.
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      Re: Consumers Back Calls for a Universal Service Obligation on Broadband

      I think that the way in which the Internet has grown is fantastic.

      It was only a few years ago that everyone had to use 36k Modems. Not long before that those who could afford it could dial up some board or another on a 9600baud Modem.

      Now we can buy and sell things, research topics, join groups and chat with like-minded people.

      To deny people access to the Internet would be like preventing someone from going into town to shop and perhaps socialise.

      Sure there are dangers, just as with everything else. Safety is as important on the Internet as it would be if you were walking down a dark alley.

      Personally I would be in favour of ensuring that everyone was able to get a good connection speed sooner rather than later. Sure BDUK are in the process of getting everyone on a fast connection, but there are still many "have nots" how would be happy with something today.

      PlusNet Fibre since Jan 2021
      Previously Sky Fibre & Sky BB since 2010.

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      Re: Consumers Back Calls for a Universal Service Obligation on Broadband

      i dont know about you but i have had broadband since 1999

      33.6 1995-1997
      56k 1997-1999 synced at 52k ..

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      Re: Consumers Back Calls for a Universal Service Obligation on Broadband

      I was working abroad in '99.

      PlusNet Fibre since Jan 2021
      Previously Sky Fibre & Sky BB since 2010.

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      Re: Consumers Back Calls for a Universal Service Obligation on Broadband

      I remember starting at 9600 baud. If I remember right, there were competing standards for faster modems and it took a while for compatible standards to come out. Eventually that was resolved and faster and faster standards evolved to a dizzying 56K! I used to buy the latest and fastest modems when I went to the USA on holiday, since the prices were about half what we paid here. I can remember the bulletin boards on CompuServe (CIS?), paying about £5 per month in the late 80s / early 90s. After we moved to our current house in 92 we each had 2 telephone lines, one for voice and one for dial-up. This was all on Win 3 and 3.1.

      Aah, the good old days!
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      Re: Consumers Back Calls for a Universal Service Obligation on Broadband

      What beats me is when someone with a speed 512k to 1Mb complains of it being worse than dial up. They obviously never had or have forgotten just how slow dial up was. With today's graphic intensive pages it would take all day to download the BBC news page. I remember how excited I was when I went from 56k to 512k broadband.
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      TomD


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