by Countryside Alliance

The Countryside Alliance has released its latest briefing note on the Universal Service Obligation (USO) for broadband. 

In the Statement of Strategic Priorities for telecommunications published earlier this year, the Government laid out its commitment to deliver nationwide full broadband coverage by 2033 and increasing geographic coverage to 95 per cent by 2022.

Amongst other points, our position states that:

  • USO should be available to everyone, as the name implies. It is necessary to ensure that the most rural, hard-to-reach properties can enjoy the same workable broadband speeds as the rest of the UK. Rural properties should not be priced out of the service.
  • BT must review the cost cap to allow neighbours to share costs when threshold is reached.
  • Broadband is not an optional extra in this digital world and rural consumers should not be expected to pay excessive amounts to be connected. As such, properties should be allowed to share the costs under USO, this would ultimately help connect rural residents and, depending on how many individuals were involved, could also bring costs below the cost cap.

You can read the full briefing note here.

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