Only five companies have expressed an interest in delivering the UK’s Universal Service Obligation

The UK’s telecoms regulator, Ofcom, has received a lukewarm response to its call for suppliers for its proposed Universal Service Obligation(USO). Only five internet service providers (ISPs) registered their interest to deliver the USO service, which would guarantee download speeds of 10Mbps and upload speeds of 1Mbps to every citizen on the UK by 2020.

The government’s superfast initiative claims to have delivered broadband speeds of 24Mbps to over 95 per cent of the UK population, so the USO would be aimed at the remaining 4-5 per cent of customers who live in extremely hard to reach areas.   

The five companies who formally expressed an interest in backing the USO were Openreach, KCOM, Hyperoptic, Quickline and Broadway Partners.

Critics of the scheme have said that the USO does not provide an adequate minimum download speed – with 10Mbps hardly being fast enough for anything other than the most rudimentary of web browsing experiences. As a point of reference, the UK government has said that it wants to see 100 per cent fibre to the home penetration across the UK by 2033, which would guarantee a minimum speed of 1,000Mbps (1Gbps).    

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