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Panel Proposes 8 Principles for Delivering 2Mbps Universal UK Broadband

Posted: 26th Mar, 2010 By: MarkJ
2012 UK 2Mbps signThe Communications Consumer Panel has called on the Government to make sure that its Universal Service Commitment (USC), which aims to deliver a minimum broadband ISP speed of at least 2Mbps to virtually every household in the UK by 2012, keeps to a set of eight guiding principles designed to help meet consumers’ needs.
Consumer Principles for Universal Service Commitment Implementation

1. The Universal Service Commitment should enable consumers to carry out the online activities that they consider to be essential or will soon.

2. The Government should define the Commitment in a way that ensures quality and reliability of service.

3. The Government should help consumers to do what they can themselves to optimise their broadband connections.

4. The Universal Service Commitment should benefit people in all parts of the UK, using different types of broadband connection where necessary.

5. The Government should be proactive in identifying the parts of the UK that would benefit from the Commitment.

6. Consumers who benefit from the Commitment should have a choice of service providers.

7. The Government should ensure that the Commitment keeps pace with consumer demands over the years ahead.

8. The Government should deliver the Commitment using next-generation broadband where practicable.
The government has already set aside around £250m to help deploy the USC. However several key issues, such as the need for low latency connections, a minimum upload speed guarantee, respect for service flexibility (e.g. reasonably good usage allowances) and of course affordability, continue to be ignored.

Anna Bradley, Communications Consumer Panel Chair, said today:

"The Panel has developed a set of eight principles to guide the implementation of the universal broadband commitment by Broadband Delivery UK, the body set up by Government to make this happen. The ultimate test of success for the universal broadband commitment will be whether consumers can carry out essential online activities in a reliable and consistent way.

To meet this challenge, the UK Government will need to work effectively with the Administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales so that the benefits envisaged by the universal broadband commitment are available to consumers in all parts of the UK."

The principals being proposed do appear to touch on some of our concerns, albeit with a high degree of ambiguity. In any case the government has so far shown no real desire to tackle the problems with its policy. As ever, the devil is in the detail and detail is exactly what we have yet to see.
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