AFFORDABLE BROADBAND FOR ALL
The Somerset Guardian, 3rd June 2020
Usually, I use this article to discuss the latest political developments but I think it is also useful to bring helpful information to the constituents of North East Somerset.
Recently, I had a telephone meeting with Paul Coles, English Regions Director for the British Telecom (BT) Group in relation to 'superfast broadband'.
From 20 March 2020, Mr. Scholes told me that North East Somerset constituents have had the legal right to request a decent, affordable broadband connexion from BT under the new 'Universal Service Obligation (USO) for Broadband'. This service is defined in law as an 'affordable' service with a download speed of at least 10Mbps and an upload speed of at least 1Mbps.
The Universal Service is intended to be a safety net for those who currently struggle to get online because they cannot yet access a fast connexion. However, 84.2% of premises in North East Somerset already have access to superfast broadband (at least 30Mbps) or higher and full fibre coverage in the constituency has grown over the past year.
I was pleased to hear that BT is working closely with the Government and Ofcom to put the right conditions in place for a significant investment in the delivery of full fibre thus supporting the Government’s ambition of installing nationwide gigabit-capable broadband by 2025.
Following the launch of the Universal Service on 20 March, BT will be writing to all those premises in North East Somerset that Ofcom’s preliminary analysis has shown may be eligible. They will be encouraged to contact BT on 0800 783 0223 or www.bt.com/uso and if they qualify for an upgraded broadband connexion this will be installed at no cost to them.
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