British telecoms regulator Ofcom has confirmed that new rules giving consumers the right to request a ‘decent and affordable’ broadband connection came into force on 20 March. In a press release regarding the development, the watchdog noted that the country’s broadband universal service scheme gives eligible homes and businesses the legal right to request an upgraded connection if they are unable to receive a download/upload speed of at least 10Mbps/1Mbps. BT is responsible for connecting properties across the country – except in the Hull area, where KCOM is the designated service provider.
In terms of eligibility, Ofcom confirmed that homes and businesses that can apply for a universal service connection if they: have no access to ‘decent’ broadband; and are not due to be connected by a publicly-funded scheme within the next twelve months. Further, those premises that can get a decent service, but only at a cost above GBP46.10 (USD53.7) per month, will also have the right to request a universal service. With regards to costs, it has been confirmed that if the fee for getting a property connected is GBP3,400 or less, then BT or KCOM will pay for this work to be carried out. However, if the required work exceeds this, the customer requesting a universal service connection can choose to pay the additional costs, or alternative solutions may be available, such as satellite broadband, or a connection built through a publicly-funded scheme.