The Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) has warned that implementing a universal service obligation of 10Mb broadband “could lead to rising consumer prices” if the government doesn’t invest in improving the nation’s infrastructure.
"ISPA supports the principle of broadband universality so that everyone in society can benefit from being online with a good, reliable connection," the Association said in a statement.
"We also feel that should the USO go ahead, it should not be funded through an industry levy… this will end up being reflected in broadband prices, meaning the cost will end up being shouldered by the consumer."
Putting the levy on providers, it said, is anti-competitive and could hinder other network rollouts, and could ultimately lead to higher prices for us.
It said that public funding for better broadband speeds should be considered - that means the burden of bringing our broadband networks up to par won't fall on providers, and our household bills won't shoot up.
In fact, since there are "clear social and economic benefits" to a better broadband networks, the ISPA believes targeted public funding for particular areas - such as remote rural locations - would be the best way to deliver the USO.
It also said that the outlining of the USO needs to be more specific: to deliver it, providers need an understanding of "how ambitious the USO is meant to be", and then we can specify the timescales, cost, and rate of delivery.
Either way, it stresses that the technical specification must be "technology-neutral", to account for different kinds of technology that can be used to deliver broadband - like satellites and 4G.
Read the ISPA's full statement on its website here.
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