Ofcom picks BT and KCOM to deliver legal right to broadband

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Ofcom picks BT and KCOM for universal broadband

The providers will assume the roles from March 2020

Ofcom has chosen BT and KCOM to be its Universal Service Obligation providers.

The two network providers will assume the roles from March 2020 as part of Ofcom’s attempts to implement the government’s ‘universal broadband service’, which intends to give certain eligible homes and businesses a legal right to a broadband connection that delivers download speeds of at least 10Mbps and upload speeds of at least 1Mbps.

According to Ofcom these speeds are subject to review as data use changes over time.

The scheme would currently benefit 620,000 homes and offices, which are among the most remote in the UK.

BT is the designated provider across the whole of the UK except for the Hull area, which KCOM will be responsible for.

From March 20 2020 customers will be able to see if they are eligible to request broadband at the aforementioned speeds. The providers will have 30 days from a request to determine eligibility; from then they must deliver the broadband as quickly as possible.

BT CEO Philip Jansen said: “BT is very pleased to have been chosen by Ofcom to deliver the Government’s promise to connect the UK. It’s great news that the majority of homes and businesses in rural areas can choose a fixed wireless service from EE to solve the problem of slow broadband and get speeds way faster than 10Mbps.

“Through Openreach we are now extending our fibre broadband network to reach an additional 40,000 premises within the USO area for whom FWA is not the answer. We’ll continue to drive discussions with Ofcom, Government and industry to explore alternative options to connect up every property in the country and ensure no-one is left behind.”

Ofcom consumer group director Lindsey Fussell said: “As more of our daily lives move online, bringing better broadband to people and businesses is crucial. From next year, this new broadband safety net will give everyone a legal right to request a decent connection – whether you live in a city or a hamlet. This will be vital for people who are struggling to get the broadband they need.”

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