Faster internet for universal service
Bern, 16.12.2022 - The Federal Council is increasing internet speeds under the universal service obligation. From 2024, a download speed of 80 Mbps will also be available. The necessary revision of the Ordinance on Telecommunications Services was passed by the Federal Council on 16 December. This will benefit people living in areas where no equivalent services exist on the market. The Federal Communications Commission ComCom can now launch the procedure for granting the next universal service licence.
Access to fast and reliable broadband services is essential for all segments of the population throughout the country, as demonstrated not least during the coronavirus pandemic. The universal service conditions are therefore set to be expanded in the new 2024 licence. With the revision of the Ordinance on Telecommunications Services, the Federal Council has adapted the licence requirements in line with user and business needs and technical developments. From 2024, universal service subscribers will be able to choose between the previous download/upload speeds of 10/1 Mbps and a faster option of 80/8 Mbps.
The amended ordinance explicitly provides for a principle of subsidiarity, i.e. the universal service obligation applies only where no alternative exists on the market. Universal service is delivered on the basis of technology neutrality. This means peripheral regions may also be served with mobile or satellite solutions, which are quicker to put in place. The revision also sets a price cap on internet access, with the 80/8 Mbps option to cost no more than CHF 60 a month (excl. VAT).
Around 70 comments were received as part of the consultation process. The vast majority welcomed the proposal to include a faster internet option of 80/8 Mbps in the universal service conditions.
New licence to be prepared and granted
Swisscom currently holds the universal service licence, which expires at the end of 2023. ComCom, the body that grants the universal service licence, can now launch the procedure for the next licence applicable from 2024.
Other changes to universal service from 2024
The scope of universal service will remain largely unchanged. The only service being dropped is telephony with three numbers, which allows subscribers to make up to three calls in parallel. This decision was partly due to the fall-off in demand but also because there are sufficient alternatives on the market for calling with several numbers, such as web-based applications.
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The Federal Council
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General Secretariat of the Federal Department of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications; General Secretariat DETEC