The universal service for telecommunications

The purpose of the universal service is to guarantee that a basic telecommunications services offering is made available to all categories of the population and in all the regions of the country. These services must be affordable, reliable and must be of a certain quality. The universal service includes the public telephone service, broadband internet connections and the provision of special services for the disabled.

The universal service licence

On 19 May 2017, ComCom designated Swisscom as the holder of the universal service licence for the next period. The universal service licence was extended on May 19, 2022 for one year until the end of 2023. This document lays down the obligations of the universal service licensee.

For the universal service license from 2018 to 2023, traditional analogue and digital connections (ISDN - Integrated Services Digital Network) have been replaced from 2018 onwards by a multi-functional connection based on IP (Internet Protocol) technology.

With regard to internet access, the minimum data transfer rate is 10/1 Mbit/s from 1 January 2020 onwards.

Every household can benefit of two entries in the subscriber directory.

Services for the disabled have also been extended: in addition to SMS transcription and relay services, and voice access to directory services, the hearing-impaired also benefit from a sign-language relay service for conversations via video telephony.

Some services where technological progress makes it possible to offer advantageous alternatives, or which the Federal Council no longer considers to be essential to enable the population to communicate, ceased to form part of the universal service (e.g. transmission by telefax, public telephone boxes in each municipality, barring of outgoing calls). Telecommunications service providers may, however, still offer these services at market rates.

Future universal service licence


Faster internet for universal service

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.


Faster internet in the universal service from 2020

The minimum speed for surfing the internet via broadband connections prescribed in the universal service will be more than tripled from next year. This decision was made by the Federal Council at its meeting on 30 October. The Federal Council is thus following the will of parliament.


ComCom awards telecoms universal service licence to Swisscom

The universal service in relation to telecommunications services will continue to be provided by Swisscom: the Federal Communications Commission (ComCom) has awarded the universal service licence for the period from 2018 to 2022 to Swisscom.

Specialist staff
Last modification 16.12.2022

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