Telecommunications: Federal Council adapts the universal service

Berne, 09.12.2011 - The Federal Council has increased the transmission speed guaranteed as part of the universal service to download data from the internet, whilst reducing the ceiling price for this service. It has also improved the protection of young users of mobile phones from premium-rate services of an erotic or pornographic nature. These amendments to the Ordinance on Telecommunications Services (OTS) will enter into force on 1 March 2012.

The Federal Council has decided to increase the minimum speed between the network and the user from 600 to 1000 kbit/s from 1 March 2012. At the same time it has lowered the ceiling price of a connection permitting such a speed from CHF 69 to CHF 55 per month (excluding VAT). As the universal service licensee, Swisscom has since 1 January 2008 been obliged to offer a connection guaranteeing connection to the internet at a speed of 600 kbit/s between the network and the user (the "downlink" or "download") and 100 kbit/s between the user and the network ("uplink" or "upload").

In terms of transmission speed, Switzerland therefore joins Finland, which is the only member state of the European Union to have introduced a comparable broadband connection into universal service obligations. The Federal Council will continue to monitor closely the development of broadband internet in Switzerland. It will, if necessary, undertake a new adaptation of the services forming part of the universal service before the current licence expires on 31 December 2017.

Better protection of young people using mobile phones

Telecommunications service providers are already obliged to block access to premium-rate services of an erotic or pornographic nature if they are aware that the user is under the age of 16. The relevant services are often provided using numbers starting with 0906, or with 6 for SMS and MMS services. From 1 March 2012, mobile operators must actively inquire about the age of the primary user when the contract is concluded or when a device is sold.

In this way, the Federal Council is implementing one of the measures recommended in its 17 September 2010 evaluation report on the telecommunications market.

Address for enquiries

Philipp Metzger
Vice Director Federal Office of Communications
+41 (0)32 327 55 99


The Federal Council

General Secretariat of the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications; General Secretariat DETEC

Federal Office of Communications