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Universal Service Obligation (USO)

Randomcastle

Casual Member
I believe that from March, if my fixed line speed is below 10 mbps, (or costs more that £45 pcm but I'm not interested in that angle) I can ask my ISP to upgrade it.
Can someone clarify:
1. Is that from 1 March? If not, what date?
2. Who do I contact? eg my provider is JLP/Plusnet, and they use Openreach/BT. Do I go through JLP, or do I need a contact in BT?
3. Do BT have to provide a fixed line solution or can they offer 4G, presumably via EE?
4. I tried to get a CFP scheme together last year, but the costs were unrealistic. What are people's thoughts on going back to interested parties and suggesting they try the USO angle as well? Might an approach from 20 or 30 households force BT's hand to deliver a more strategic solution?

Thanks in advance
 

sheephouse

Pro Member
You should be able to request a USO connection from 20th March from BT - the exact mechanism is yet to be announced.
For most people BT are likely to offer a 4G solution. They have 30 days to respond to the request, and if it goes ahead they have a target of 80% of connections being built within 12 months of a confirmed order.
 

Green Meanie

Regular Member
CFP’s may still work in your favour as new voucher schemes are available, plus with the OR builds going on, it may now be cheaper than originally quoted.
 

Randomcastle

Casual Member
You should be able to request a USO connection from 20th March from BT - the exact mechanism is yet to be announced.
For most people BT are likely to offer a 4G solution. They have 30 days to respond to the request, and if it goes ahead they have a target of 80% of connections being built within 12 months of a confirmed order.
Thanks. Should be interesting watching them trying to get an EE 4g connection. Tried that - no joy. What's next? FWA? Airband were unable to get a LOS to any of their masts. Watch this space!
 

Mark8253

Regular Member
One minor but potentially important addition - 3G/4G from anybody (not just EE) counts as a USO connection, as long as it meets the 10/1 Mb/s speed and data volume requirements. And that is outdoors with an external antenna, not indoors on a phone. Quite some potential here for disputes in marginal reception areas...
 

sheephouse

Pro Member
Yes, I'm looking forward to the response when I apply - although I'm pretty sure what it will be. Not only can I get 4G a little above USO, but BT's dslchecker has my ADSL2+ line with a max observed sync speed of over 10Mbps and 1.1Mbps up (although I have never seen real uploads anywhere near that). I know ADSL2+ isn't expected to meet USO, but if they have seen a connection >1Mbps will that count? I'll find out in a few weeks...
 

Randomcastle

Casual Member
One minor but potentially important addition - 3G/4G from anybody (not just EE) counts as a USO connection, as long as it meets the 10/1 Mb/s speed and data volume requirements. And that is outdoors with an external antenna, not indoors on a phone. Quite some potential here for disputes in marginal reception areas...
thanks for the clarifications. Coincidentally I just saw a very welcome uptick in my 4G Voxi/Vodafone connection speed last night - from an average of 17 mbps to 35 (d). I'd prefer a landline connection, but if this holds good I'll be happy. Happier still because some months ago Voxi SMS'd me to say that whilst they were upgrading network to 5G they were putting me on an unlimited tariff. Still on it!
 

Randomcastle

Casual Member
Think I've reached the end of the road on this. I finally managed to get what passes for a detailed breakdown of the £48k BT want to charge me for gigabit broadband. There are 4 items: premises served; cabling and jointing; network build/civils; and planning/new ducting. The killer is premises served. I know from my CFP submission last year that there are 28 premises on this "spur" but BT say the most efficient provision to my house only goes past 4 other houses. They won't tell me which 4. So 70% of 4 times £3400 is not very much money, hence the humongous bill. I can take this to the Ombudsman, but not sure if it will achieve anything. Anyone else got past this point?
 

sheephouse

Pro Member
Interesting results, although I fear it was predictable.
In my case the ADSL2+ with a max observed speed just above 10Mbps means the USO checker informs me that I can already get an above USO connection - upload doesn't seem to be considered relevant. My neighbours with a max download speed (before they gave up on broadband) of under 5Mbps are also deemed to already have a connection that meets USO.
However, in my case I now use EE 4G, and get comfortably above USO (much better than with Three previously), although I have to jump through a few hoops to get static IP addresses.
Has anybody anywhere actually received FTTP though USO?
 

greentrident

Casual Member
So having a quote of £2k to £5k over the £3400 I was surprised to find my next door neighbour was quoted less than £3400 and so wouldn't have anything to pay! It's only 2m away so that seems like an expensive 2m trench!
 

Randomcastle

Casual Member
Ofcom has launched an enquiry into BTs behaviour on this. Does any one have any idea how to submit evidence to this enquiry?
 

Mark.J

Administrator
Staff member
ISPreview Team
May be USO stands for

Universal Subsidy for Openreach :cool:
Not at present, since they'd be subsiding themselves :) . It's industry funded and right now that funding comes from BT, until / unless a bigger fund is established.
 

aesmith

Casual Member
My point was that even where FTTPoD is shown as available, BT cop out by only offing 4G. It's not as if there was any investigation, it just came straight back as the only option.

And yes their offering is expensive at £40/m for 200Gig, I'm paying less that half that for unlimited. And although EE sometimes shows a better download service at our house, upload is absolutely abysmal, sometimes as low as 80kbits/s. Maybe USO doesn't care about upload speeds or latency.
 

ManOfMeans

ULTIMATE Member
My point was that even where FTTPoD is shown as available, BT cop out by only offing 4G. It's not as if there was any investigation, it just came straight back as the only option.

And yes their offering is expensive at £40/m for 200Gig, I'm paying less that half that for unlimited. And although EE sometimes shows a better download service at our house, upload is absolutely abysmal, sometimes as low as 80kbits/s. Maybe USO doesn't care about upload speeds or latency.

FTTPoD is extremely expensive, why would BT offer that when a 4G connection offers the minimum of what is required to fulfill the USO?
 
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