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.
On 19 May 2017, ComCom designated Swisscom as the holder of the universal service licence for the next period. This document lays down the obligations of the universal service licensee.
For the universal service licence from 2018 to 2022, traditional analogue and digital connections (ISDN - Integrated Services Digital Network) will be replaced from 2018 onwards by a multi-functional connection based on IP (Internet Protocol) technology. Until 2021, Swisscom will have to offer free of charge an interface for analogue and ISDN equipment at the network termination point, for customers who request it, so that they have sufficient time to change their equipment.
With regard to internet access, the minimum data transfer rate will be 3000/300 kbit/s from 1 January 2018 onwards.
Every household will be able to request a free supplementary entry in the subscriber directory.
Services for the disabled will also be extended: in addition to SMS transcription and relay services, and voice access to directory services, the hearing-impaired will 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, will cease 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 will, however, still be able to offer these services at market rates.