About broadband universal service

We’re working with Ofcom, the independent communications regulator, to deliver a new initiative called broaband universal service.

It’s a piece of government legislation that gives eligible addresses the right to request a decent and affordable broadband connection.

If your address is eligible, we can upgrade your local network so you can order faster broadband.


About broadband universal service

We’re working with Ofcom, the independent communications regulator, to deliver a new initiative called broaband universal service.

It’s a piece of government legislation that gives eligible addresses the right to request a decent and affordable broadband connection.

If your address is eligible, we can upgrade your local network so you can order faster broadband.


Frequently asked questions

There are lots of factors that can increase the cost of building a network. They can include things like the distance from the nearest telephone exchange and challenging environment such as rivers and underground caves.   We may agree that you can do some of the work yourself to help bring the costs down. For example, digging the trenches to lay fibre optic cables.

To make sure we minimise the cost, when we assess the cost we take into account how some of the new network could also be used to reach other eligible properties nearby.  

You can request a network build through our dedicated help desk from 20 March 2020. Once you request a universal service connection, we’ll confirm whether your address is eligible. This includes letting you know whether the estimated cost of building the necessary network will be less than the £3,400 (exclusive of VAT) threshold. This may take 30 days. After this, we’ll be able to start planning the work.

If the estimated cost is more than £3,400 (exclusive of VAT), we can carry out a full survey and give you a detailed, final quote. This may take 60 days. If you’re happy to pay the quoted costs, then we can start planning the work once we’ve received your payment. You’ll have 30 days to change your mind. After that the payment is non-refundable except in accordance with the broadband universal service terms and conditions.

Yes, as long as it’s in a fixed location and is either a home or a business. It’ll need to meet the other criteria as well. When you make your request we might ask for evidence, such as a copy of your council tax bill if it’s your home, or your business rates bill if it’s a business.

We aim to deliver every network build as quickly as possible – ideally within 12 months. However, it may take up to 24 months for some, or longer in exceptional cases. Some upgrades will take longer than others but we’ll let you know how long we expect it to take early in the process.

On rare occasions delays will occur due to circumstances outside of our control. For example, it could take us longer than we thought to get permission to close roads, we might not be able to lay our cables or underground duct routes where we need to due to obstacles, or we might come across archaeology or a protected wildlife species. If this happens we’ll keep you updated.

If the build will take longer than 24 months, or in the exceptional circumstances that we’re unable to complete the network upgrade, we’ll let you know.

Rollout schemes usually involve extending broadband networks to meet anticipated demand by homes and businesses. Other schemes have restrictions on eligibility such as needing a school in the area to be connected. Under the broadband universal service scheme however, all eligible homes and businesses which cannot already get broadband meeting the minimum standard can request an upgraded connection.

If you’re in an area where there is another service or a publicly funded rollout scheme within the next 12 months, your address won’t be eligible for a network build. 

Using Openreach’s Community Fibre Partnership  programme could be an alternative route to upgrade your area’s broadband network. This is outside of the broadband universal service scheme. It supports the local community to come together to share the costs of an upgrade.

Use the postcode checker on this page to find out what solutions are already available to you and if you could be eligible for a universal service connection. If we think you're eligible, you'll be directed to call our dedicated universal service help desk to confirm.  You can also find out more on Ofcom’s broadband  universal service help page

We hope that you’ll never have reason to complain about any aspect of our services.

However, if you have a complaint related to your current broadband speed or service, you need to call your existing service provider so they can help you.

If your complaint is related to the broadband universal service process, then you should call the universal service help desk on 0800 783 0223 so they can help you.

You can raise a complaint at any time. We will try to solve the issue quickly where we can, but there may be times when it may take a while to sort out. We’ll let you know how long it’s going to take and when to expect an update.  If, after contacting us, we have not resolved your complaint within eight weeks or if we are unable to resolve the situation, you may refer your complaint to Ombudsman  Services, free of charge.