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Broadband: Costs

Question for Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

UIN 69557, tabled on 6 July 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, what steps the Government is taking to support people who have been told by BT OpenReach that the costs for broadband for their properties under the Universal Service Obligation will be £10,00 or more.

Answered on

20 July 2020

As the independent regulator, Ofcom is responsible for ensuring that both of the designated Universal Service Providers, BT and KCOM, comply with the conditions that the regulator has placed upon them. Ofcom expects that quotes should explain the nature of the costs involved and include a clear explanation of the work required to deliver the specific connection. Ofcom has previously estimated that the combination of commercially available services and the USO will reach 99.8% of premises in the UK.

If a customer believes that the cost of installing their broadband connection has been calculated incorrectly they can refer their complaint to the Ombudsman Service, free of charge.

The government is committed to delivering gigabit capable connectivity across the UK as soon as possible. As part of the 2020 Budget, the government committed to invest a further £5 billion to help support the rollout of gigabit-capable broadband in the hardest to reach parts of the country, including to premises without a broadband service that meets the broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) specification.

The government is working to have the new £5bn delivery programme up and running as soon as possible, and intends to start procuring the first contracts next year. We will publish more information in due course.

In the meantime, households with poor broadband connections in rural areas may be able to benefit from the government’s existing Gigabit Voucher Scheme, which provides vouchers worth £1,500 per home and up to £3,500 for each small to medium-sized business (SME) to support the cost of installing faster and more reliable gigabit connections. Communities can also combine vouchers to further reduce the costs of installation.