Entanet has welcomed the prospect of a new 10Mbps Universal Service Obligation (USO) for all broadband services being introduced by 2020, but sounded a note of caution on the move, saying many questions need to be answered before the industry and Internet users can be confident that the new promise of fast broadband for everyone will be fulfilled.
In a posting on its opinion blog (http://www.enta.net/opinion/2015/11/17/10mbps-uso-solve-final-5-issue/#.VlXwhl6uWDE), Darren Farnden, Head of Marketing at Entanet, points out that the plan is already being interpreted in some quarters as a ‘get out of jail’ manoeuvre by the government and a step towards passing the buck for enabling the UK’s hard-to-reach areas for broadband onto ISPs.
Farnden states: “We think the concept of a new 10Mbps USO is great news for the industry, channel and customers alike and we hope that it’s not used as an excuse by government to pass off the responsibility of connecting the final 5per cent to incumbent providers who may not be able to deliver the most suitable technology.”
The proposed USO would be legally binding and thus force BT or any other service providers to deliver at least 10Mbps anywhere in the UK.
In addition, there are a number of other questions that must be answered before anyone can have confidence in the plans, Farnden writes. The issues of how the USO will be defined and monitored, the potential impact on competition, and what impact it might have on the decision of whether or not to split BT from Openreach, will all need to be addressed. Most industry players – Entanet included – are calling for the BT/Openreach separation to go ahead as they believe it will allow better services and fairer competition.