The banking haven of Switzerland is looking to mandate broadband as a universal service for all Swiss citizens. The country is going to issue a new license to ensure this mandate is carried out. The universal service license is currently granted to Swisscom and will expire at the end of 2007.
The Swiss FCC notes that from January 1, 2008, the entire population will be able to access at speeds of 600 kilobits per second. The uplink speeds are capped at 100 kilobits per second for this network. It is not quite fast, but for a mandatory service, it is still a great first step.
The connection costs are capped at $46, and the service includes phone service and phone numbers which are also listed in the phone directory. The new network’s upper price limit will be reviewed in 2010 and can be lowered there after.
It is an enlightened approach taken by the Swiss, something politicians in the US should pay attention to. Of course we understand that US is much larger country and the challenges are huge, but so are the collections from our Universal Service Fund, and they should be put to better use. The problems with USF are explained in great detail here.