The MCA is empowered to establish a set of universal service obligations (USOs) to act as a safety net for end-users. The Authority is required by national legislation to ensure that an adequate broadband internet access service and voice communications service at the specified quality, including the underlying connection, at a fixed location are made available at affordable prices to all consumers in the Maltese Islands, in the light of national conditions and independently of geographic location. The MCA is also required to ensure the continuation of the availability and affordability of existing universal services when justified according to the national circumstances.
In June 2022, the MCA published a consultation and proposed decision (MCA/C/22-4595) with the scope of redefining USOs following the transposition of the European Electronic Communications Code into national legislation, and identifying resulting changes in providers of services responsible to provide these USOs. During the consultation period, which ran between 24th June 2022 and 5th August 2022, the Authority received feedback from three local providers of electronic communications networks and services.
The Authority is hereby publishing its Decision Notice ‘Universal Service Obligations on Electronic Communications Services’ which is updating the universal service regime in Malta in respect of the following USOs:
- Provision of voice communications services at a fixed location;
- Provision of reduced tariff options;
- Provision of other specific measures for vulnerable users;
- Control of expenditure by users; and
- Comprehensive electronic directory.
The new requirements arising from this Decision Notice shall become applicable as from 1st August 2023.
Universal Service Obligations on Electronic Communications Services - Consultation and Proposed Decision