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USC gets Broadband Delivery UK to make it reality
Thursday 04 March 2010 16:46:08 by Andrew Ferguson

The Broadband Universal Service Commitment (USC) has been a part of the UK broadband landscape since July 2009, but until now it has consisted of various Government papers, and speeches by Ministers. The news that a group named Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) is set to start its work on the USC is welcome news, as it means that there is a chance of meeting the target of 2Meg for all by 2012.

The press release tells us very little about who is part of the group, and does not reveal any web presence so that people can see what they are getting up to. We would presume that this will change very quickly, with the developments both positive and negative being open and visible to all.

The BDUK has two roles:

  1. Drive forward the USC of 2Mbps to every household by 2012, using funds left over from the Digital Switchover Fund of around £200m.
  2. Manage the spend of the £1 billion Next Generation Fund to deliver Next Generation Broadband to 90% of the country by 2017.

"Taking advantage of new technologies like next generation broadband is vital to the growth of the UK’s economy and it’s important that all homes and businesses can access the opportunities faster speeds bring.

This report makes clear that without public intervention, some rural areas and less well off communities will be left behind and unable to reap the economic, health and education benefits superfast broadband offers. Our proposed £1billion Next Generation Fund will help bring the benefits of super fast broadband to more communities.

We do not want to risk the digital gap widening, which is why we have put a team of experts in place to ensure further investment is targeted at those people without adequate access."

Stephen Timms, Minister for Digital Britain

The next few weeks are crucial to how the BDUK and the USC are perceived. There remains uncertainty as to what 2Mbps means in technical terms; a general suspicion is that this is being kept vague so that a variety of technical solutions can be deployed, including satellite access, fixed wireless, mobile and landline based solutions. The USC as it stands could be met, by simply handing out vouchers that give subsidised satellite access for all those that ask for it. Also a lot of the general public may already have connections of 3 or 4Mbps but are not able to actually run all the applications the USC is setting to address due to contention/congestion issues. Whether the USC will address and force providers into ensuring a baseline of services is possible at peak times is something that needs to be clarified urgently.

The timescale for the USC is certainly short, particularly if the normal timescales of research and tendering for contracts are undertaken. The forthcoming General Election should not impede the USC too much, as this part of the Digital Britain Report has widespread backing. The Next Generation Fund is another matter, with the Conservatives keen to leave it to market forces and only act if the free market is seen to be stalling.

At thinkbroadband, when we talk about 'next generation broadband', we generally refer to services faster than 25Mbps (downstream), but since this has not being defined by the Government we might find that ADSL2+ with a maximum speed of 24Mbps being deployed. Given the way some broadband providers push ADSL2+ as being Next Generation, a definition would be very welcome. ADSL2+ has been available in parts of the UK since 2005. Even we should consider this definition carefully given Virgin Media's plans to launch 100Mbps broadband connections by the end of the year across its network.


Posted by mikeblogs over 7 years ago
An an early advocate of USC this will be much more than you think,

Hopefully exclusive to Market 1 exchanges.

2Mbps will be sought but based on an ability to show how this can be delivered to support an increasing list of critical services over time using NGA components.

This use of speed only is misleading, I would hope the start with 2Mbps will lead 15-20MBps sync, low latency and good peak hour allowance of 500Kbps for backhaul by 2017

Lots of cable pulling though Openreach duct and make available to all, including Mobile companies on an equivalent basis.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 7 years ago
If come 2012 this site is still here and every user that HAS or WANTS broadband gets atleast 2Mb ACTUAL SPEED ill eat my my foot that currently has a veruca. Never gonna happen, some homes can not even get 288 or 512k still.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 7 years ago
I don't hold much hope from the BDUK mob, just another quango methinks, but the new coalition of rural JFDI types may get things moving.
Posted by infinidim over 7 years ago
I tend to agree with you "cyberdoyle".....
Posted by chrysalis over 7 years ago
I am considering moving to a very nice part of the country this year, it is a market1 region, I will make sure this time my line is indeed short. I will also be happy to pay extra as I realise some sacrifices should be made when in nice green areas. So if I do move it likely be aaisp for me in the market1 exchange, which doesnt even have 21cn until Q3 2011.
Posted by GrahamMills over 7 years ago
Yet another uncontrolled quango to waste our money on plush offices for an unelected few. For a party that theoretically believes in democracy it is amazing how many qunagos Labour creates.
Posted by herdwick over 7 years ago
" but the new coalition ... " great, another campaign to JFTAI. As useful as a quango, I suspect.
Posted by kijoma over 7 years ago
this all reminds me of when ADSL first came out at 512kbps and BT set high SNR thresholds (noise) so a lot of people couldn't get then to connect 512k. then a lot of money was thrown at BT via a plethora of quango's , BT changed the limits (which didnt cost anything) and some more got connected.. now its the same but for "faster" connections.. this time though there is no magic threshold to change and no more rabbits in the ADSL hat to pull out.. be prepared to see a lot of money go into a big hole anytime soon..
Posted by KarlAustin over 7 years ago
Oh joy, another quango. They'll spend 49.8p of the 50p levy on fattening their own bank accounts and giving friends jobs and at the end of it we'll be left in the same situation we are now - where industry does it better than civil servants ever will.
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