Ofcom begins consulting on rules for compensating universal service providers

6 Nov 2019

British telecoms regulator Ofcom has launched a consultation on proposals for the rules and procedures that universal service providers (USPs) should follow to make a claim for any unfair costs involved in providing a universal service. Its decision follows a June 2019 announcement in which the watchdog confirmed that BT and KCOM had been designated as USPs for the broadband universal service obligation (USO), scheduled to come into force from 20 March 2020. The regulator noted that proposed procedures would apply to the broadband USO, but also to any other universal service obligations.

In terms of the proposals, the key elements include the ability for USPs to be able to request that Ofcom reviews its claim for compensation, as well as a requirement that USPs must submit ‘sufficient’ information to support any claim. Meanwhile, when carrying out any review Ofcom would be required to determine the existence and level of any net cost, and once determined the regulator would decide whether it would be unfair for the provider in question to bear some or all of that cost.

The closing date for feedback on the proposals is 7 January 2020.

United Kingdom, BT Group (incl. Openreach), KCOM, Ofcom