At the end of last year the Government proposed to consult on a new legally-binding Universal Service Obligation (USO), which will ensure everyone in the UK can access a minimum broadband speed of 10 Megabits per second (10Mbps).
Ofcom’s existing USO only requires that the primary telecoms operator (BT for the UK and KC in Hull) should 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” (i.e. conceivably dialup class Internet services at 28.8Kbps+).
An online survey conducted by broadband comparison website ISPreview.co.uk, which questioned 1,823 UK Internet users about the proposed policy, found that three quarters (77%) of respondents support the Government’s plan for a 10Mbps USO and most would even be willing to pay a bit extra for it.
Would you still support the USO if it meant a small rise in broadband price (e.g. 50p a month), asked the survey?
Yes – 50p is fine – 61.6%
No – 24%
Yes – If less than 50p – 9.3%
Unsure – 4.9%
Despite all this, some 75% of respondents also felt that the USO should deliver a faster speed than 10Mbps (i.e. only 25% would be completely happy with 10Mbps).
Separately just 32% said they would be happy if the USO ended up including Satellite broadband as an approved method of connectivity (i.e. 53% didn’t want Satellite to be included on the USO and 15% were simply unsure).
“Imposing a legal requirement to deliver a decent level of broadband connectivity is no simple measure and would put additional pressures upon BT, and possibly other operators, in order to meet the requirement,” says ISPreview.co.uk‘s Founder, Mark Jackson.
“Nevertheless the vast majority of respondents clearly support the move and many would even be willing to stomach a small increase in price in order to cater for it.”
“However consumers clearly want a good quality connection, perhaps ideally a fixed line service, which may explain why only 31% would support the 10Mbps USO if the Government attempted to use a quick-fix solution like Satellite to deliver it.
Satellite has already been used for the non-binding 2Mbps Universal Service Commitment (USC), but it can’t deliver a low latency service and struggles to match the affordable IPTV / video streaming friendly ‘unlimited’ usage allowances of superior methods,” concludes Jackson.