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Several countries have already defined a universal service for broadband in an effort to reduce the digital divide. However, there remain variations in the speed targets that have been adopted, which are fairly low, ranging from 1Mbps to a potential 30Mbps.


  • USOs for broadband are becoming more common, but most countries have not yet adopted them. There are clear signs all over the world that USO for broadband is gaining importance; however, most regulators have not yet dealt with it yet, and more activity around it should be expected in the next years.
  • Small countries are unsurprisingly ahead on this issue, but larger countries are catching up. Most of the countries where broadband USOs have been introduced are relatively small; this is hardly surprising, since small countries are more easily covered in a ubiquitous way.

Features and Benefits

  • Highlights the countries where USOs for broadband have been set.
  • Compares approaches in setting the minimum speeds and funding mechanisms.

Key questions answered

  • Which countries have been the most progressive in setting broadband USOs?
  • How have regulators decided what minimum speed should be required?

Table of contents


  • In brief
  • Ovum view

Key challenges and conclusions

  • Even developed countries appear inconsistent in defining minimum requirements for broadband USOs
  • Mixed approaches are also seen in funding mechanisms

Country case studies

  • EU
  • Belgium
  • Finland
  • Ireland
  • Malta
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • Singapore
  • UK
  • US


  • Methodology
  • Further reading
  • Author

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