HomeInsightsOfcom consults on proposal to remove fax from Universal Service Obligation

Ofcom is proposing rules changes that will mean telecoms providers will no longer be required to provide fax services under the Universal Service obligation (USO). There are two designated telecoms providers responsible for universal service in the UK: BT and KCOM (in the Hull area only).

The current USO was set out in 2003 when fax machines were more prevalent and email and instant messaging were less ubiquitous. At that time, it was important the USO required BT and KCOM to provide fax services.

Twenty years later, the telecoms landscape has changed. Not only are alternatives to fax machines now more widely available, migration of telephone networks to internet protocol (IP) technology means fax services can no longer be guaranteed to work in the same way.

Ofcom previously consulted on this subject last year. It considered it was appropriate for fax to be removed from the USO, given its limited ongoing use and the evolution of technology.

Ofcom is inviting comments by 1 December 2022 on implementation of this change and expects to publish a statement in early 2023. To access the consultation, click here.