In response to today's publication of Ofcom's Universal Service Obligation call for inputs, ISPA urges Ofcom to listen to warnings that the USO could lead to rising consumer prices and potential market distortions and so should pursue a 'safety net' approach that provides access to core digital services.
In its response, ISPA also argued that the clear social and economic benefits of broadband mean that highly targeted public funding for the most rural areas is the best way to deliver the USO and we call on Ofcom to recognise that a new broadband levy on all providers is anti-competitive, could hinder network rollout and lead to higher prices.
Responding to the latest developments, ISPA Chair James Blessing said: "ISPA supports the principle of broadband universality and feels a 'safety net' for the hardest to reach areas is the right approach, but given the clear socio-economic benefits of broadband, public funding should help fund a USO."
Government asked Ofcom to help with the technical specifications and design of the 10 Mbps Universal Service Obligation for broadband and will present options for a preferred approach by the end of year. The policy was announced last year and forms part of the Digital Economy Bill currently before Parliament. The ISPA response to Ofcom can be found in full here.