KCOM could soon be legally responsible for its broadband speeds
KCOM installing fibre broadband.
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 7 Dec 2018
KCOM looks set to join a new government initiative which from 2020 would see it legally responsible for Hull customers having a “decent broadband connection.”
In March, the Government introduced legislation for a broadband universal service obligation (USO), which will give both households and businesses the right to a certain standard of internet.
KCOM has now been chosen by national watchdog Ofcom to provide the service in Hull – subject to a consultation – with BT leading the service across the rest of the country.
If approved, KCOM could be forced to pay up to £3,400 to supply a “decent broadband connection” to any Hull homes and businesses which currently do not have the required 10mbit/s download and one mbit/s upload speed.
After the Government announced the legislation, eight companies put themselves forwards to deliver the USO.
Three companies – KCOM, BT and Hyperoptic – passed the criteria required to deliver USO, but the latter withdrew its interest, leaving just KCOM and BT.
Ofcom has now recommended the pair deliver the service. A consultation will run until February 13, 2019, and a final decision will be published next summer.
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If all goes ahead as planned, by 2020 Hull customers will have a legal right to a decent broadband connection.
Ofcom said: “We are working to implement the USO as quickly as possible, but we needed time to put an appropriate process in place and to then to consult with the public on who should deliver USO connections, and the rules they must follow.
“We also expect to consult on funding arrangements, including designing an industry fund to compensate the providers for any unfair costs, identifying who should contribute to the fund, and how it should be run.
“The Government’s initial commitment was for the USO to be in place from 2020, so we are on track to deliver ahead of that deadline.”
KCOM is currently pushing ahead with its fibre broadband rollout across Hull.
By the end of March next year, the rollout will be completed, with all households having access to the high-speed Lightstream connection.
It would put KCOM at a significant advantage to deliver the USO.