BT USO Network Build Terms and Conditions
These terms and conditions were last updated on 8 October 2021
Please take some time to read these BT USO Network Build terms and conditions (the “terms and conditions”). They provide important information about the USO Scheme (defined below). This includes setting out when we will accept a request from you to build network to your area, your payment obligations (where applicable), what you should do if there is a problem and other important information.
These terms and conditions apply to anyone placing an order for BT to build network under the USO Scheme, including both consumer and business customers.
The most important parts of the terms and conditions are explained below.
Common questions and important terms
What are these terms and conditions for?
These terms and conditions apply if you ask us to provide a network under the USO Scheme that will allow you to order a faster broadband connection at your address if you’re currently getting less that 10mbps (a “Network”). These terms and conditions only relate to the build of the Network. They don’t cover the supply of any broadband, phone or other services.
How do I make a Request?
You can read all about making a request for a Network (a “Request”) in our FAQs at bt.com/uso. You can use our online checker on that page to see whether your address may be able to take part in the USO Scheme. If you think you may be able to make a Request, you should contact us by phone via our Universal Service Helpdesk (details below) for us to confirm.
Will I have to pay anything?
We will let you know in advance if you’ll need to pay us to provide a Network. If you want us to go ahead, you’ll need to pay us upfront.
Can I change my mind?
You can cancel your Request, without giving a reason: where network build to your area has not yet been completed, within the first 30 days after you have paid us; or where the network has been built to your general area but we still need to deliver the Network to your premise, within the first 14 days after you have paid us. After that, the Charges are non-refundable except in exceptional circumstances e.g. we are unable to complete the Network. The Charges are non-refundable even if other broadband network rollout schemes (include e.g. Government supported schemes (e.g. Building Digital UK), community partnership schemes or other commercial network rollouts from broadband providers) become available in your area. You should therefore think carefully before asking us to go ahead.
How long will it take before I can order USO Broadband?
We will aim to provide the Network as soon as possible and within 12 months where we can, but it may take up to 24 months, or even longer if unexpected issues arise. We’ll let you know if we think there’ll be a significant delay. Once we let you know the Network is complete, you can order USO Broadband, either from BT or another supplier.
How does this affect my current broadband service?
This won’t affect your current broadband services. You should speak to your current provider if you are experiencing slow broadband or other issues. If we tell you faster speeds are available to your address and you wish to move from your current services, you should check whether you are in contract with your current provider and whether a charge will apply if you leave early.
How to contact us
You should contact us by calling the Universal Service Helpdesk on 0800 783 0223. You can also contact us by email at email@example.com or by post at USO Helpdesk, Gosforth Park Way, Salters Lane, Gosforth Business Park, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE12 8ET.
If you need to complain about the USO Scheme process, you should contact the Universal Service Helpdesk. Our Complaints Code applies.
You can find more information in our USO FAQs. These are on our website at bt.com/uso or you can ask us for a copy.
BT USO Network Build terms and conditions
You should read these terms and conditions carefully as they contain important information.
1. What these terms and conditions cover
1.1. These terms and conditions apply if you ask us to build a Network capable of providing USO Broadband for your address under the USO Scheme.
1.2. These terms and conditions only relate to the build of the Network. They don’t cover any broadband, phone or other services you may decide to buy from us to connect to the Network once the Network is built.
1.3. If you decide to order USO Broadband from us after the Network is built it will be subject to separate terms which will be notified to you when making the order and are available on our website.
2. The Basics
Who we are. We’re British Telecommunications PLC of 81 Newgate Street, London, EC1A 7AJ. We’re registered in England with company number 1800000. Everyone knows us as BT.
How to contact us. If you need to talk to us (including if you want to make a complaint), you should contact our dedicated Universal Service Helpdesk on 0800 783 0223. You can also contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by post at USO Helpdesk, Gosforth Park Way, Salters Lane, Gosforth Business Park, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE12 8ET.
How we will contact you. If we need to talk to you, we will do so by phone, email or post to the details you have provided to us when making the Request.
What words mean. Some of the words and phrases in these terms and conditions have special meanings. Those words are explained below. They are printed in bold wherever they have the special meaning given below:
Alternative Provider – someone other than BT, whom the Ofcom Information shows can currently make available, or will make available in the next 12 months, USO Broadband in your area.
Charges - the costs (exclusive of VAT) in excess of the Cost Threshold, as determined by BT and set out in the Quote, which you must pay to BT if you want us to build and provide access to the Network.
Complaints Code - Our customer complaints code, available at bt.com/complaintscode.
Cost Threshold – the threshold up to which we will cover the costs of Network, being £3,400 exclusive of VAT.
Eligible Address – a fixed location that BT confirms is an address eligible to make a Request for the provision of a Network by meeting the requirements set out in clause 4.1 (subject to payment of applicable Charges).
Estimate – our assessment of the cost to build the Network.
Exceptions Process – a process where BT identifies that an address not included in the Ofcom Information should nevertheless be an Eligible Address and confirms the rationale for making such a change with Ofcom.
Network – a network that will allow the home or business at the address referred to in the Request to order USO Broadband in accordance with the USO Scheme.
Ofcom – the regulator for telecommunications services in the UK.
Ofcom Information – the database and list of Eligible Addresses made available by Ofcom to BT specifically for the purposes of the USO Scheme.
Openreach – is a wholly owned subsidiary of BT Group, which maintains the telephone cables, ducts, cabinets and exchanges that connect homes and businesses in the UK to the national broadband and telephone network.
Quote – a firm, detailed quote (valid for the period that we will communicate to you) which sets out the Charges you must pay to BT if you want us to build the Network.
Request – a request to BT to provide a Network to an Eligible Address under the USO Scheme.
Universal Service Helpdesk – the telephone helpdesk that BT has set up specifically in relation to the USO Scheme.
USO Broadband – As defined by Ofcom in the USO Scheme. Broadband which can deliver speeds of 10 Mbps download and 1Mbps upload speeds. These are what we refer to as ‘sync’ speeds. Actual speeds may be slower, including at peak times when lots of people are on the network. Internal wiring and in-home set up (e.g. Wi-Fi) can also affect your speeds.
USO Scheme – the Universal Service Obligation Scheme, implemented by Ofcom in the Delivering the Broadband USO Statement, 6 June 2019.
VAT – value added tax chargeable under the Value Added Tax Act 1994, including any change to, or replacement of, the Value Added Tax Act 1994, and/or any similar tax.
3. Making a Request
3.1. You can make a Request if:
3.1.1. your address is an Eligible Address (we will confirm this when you contact the Universal Service Helpdesk);
3.1.2. you are the freeholder of the address or you have the written consent of the freeholder to make the Request; and
3.1.3. you are authorised to act on behalf of any business that you tell us you represent.
3.2. You should make a Request via our Universal Service Helpdesk by telephone on 0800 783 0223. Calls to this number are free from a UK landline or UK mobile. We may record calls (including marketing ones) to help us with training and to prevent identity fraud. You can also contact us by email at email@example.com or by post at USO Helpdesk, Gosforth Park Way, Salters Lane, Gosforth Business Park, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE12 8ET. Our other customer service advisors will not be able to help you with any queries about the USO Scheme.
3.3. Here is the information that we will usually need from you when you get in touch so that we can check that your address is eligible: your full name, business name where applicable, premise address and other contact details.
3.4. We may also carry out reasonable identification and verification checks and ask you for additional information (for example, copies of your last council tax bill or evidence of your payment of business rates). We may refuse your Request if we are unable to verify your identity, the address, or your liability for such address.
4. What happens after I’ve contacted BT to make a Request?
4.1. We will check if your address is an Eligible Address. To do this, we must confirm that:
4.1.1. the Request is for a fixed location premises within an area where we cannot already offer you an alternative service for USO Broadband (e.g. either with a fixed broadband service and/or fixed wireless access on 4G); and
4.1.2. there is no Alternative Provider (as defined above).
4.2. We will use an Exceptions Process to identify whether we consider a premise not provided for in the Ofcom Information should nevertheless be identified as an Eligible Address. BT will carry out this assessment in its discretion on a case by case basis, in conjunction with Ofcom.
4.3. We will also check whether you will have to pay us for the Network. We will only supply the Network if you agree to pay the Charges (see clause 5 below).
4.4. We will aim to contact you within 30 days of your Request to let you know whether or not we can provide a Network and whether Charges will apply (see clause 5 below). We will provide confirmation by email or post. We may also send a SMS.
4.5. If we can already provide you access to a faster connection than you get with your current service, we will let you know.
4.6. If we are aware that an Alternative Provider can or will be able to supply USO Broadband to your address, we will give you their contact details so you can contact them. If they can’t provide USO Broadband to you after 30 days (for current connections) or 12 months (for planned connections), you can come back to us and make another Request from us. We will then repeat the process above.
5.1. In accordance with clause 4.3 above, we do not have to build or provide access to the Network unless you pay us the applicable Charges.
5.2. We will aim to give you an Estimate within 30 days of your Request.
5.2.1. If your Estimate is above the Cost Threshold, you can then ask us for a Quote which will provide a breakdown of applicable Charges. We will aim to send this to you within 60 days of the request for a Quote.
5.2.2. If your Estimate is below the Cost Threshold, you won’t be provided with a Quote subject to clause 7.5.
5.3. If, after reviewing the Quote, you wish to pay the Charges, then subject to us reaching agreement with you on all matters and after you’ve paid us the Charges, we shall be able to accept your Request.
5.4. You must pay us the Charges upfront and in full in a single payment. Payments must be made to us by bank transfer. We do not accept split payments from different bank accounts or different parties. All payments must be made to us by the same person or business (as applicable).
5.5. There may be other Government supported or commercial community schemes available outside of the USO Scheme that may be better suited for you than the USO Scheme. These may include, for instance, Government supported schemes (e.g. Building Digital UK), community partnership schemes or other commercial network rollouts from broadband providers. You should consider whether the USO Scheme suits your needs before you decide to go ahead and agree to pay the Charges.
5.6. The Quote is determined in accordance with principles we have agreed with Ofcom. Your Quote may vary compared to those for other addresses in your neighbourhood and depending on when you make your Request. Factors including whether other people in your area have already asked for a Network, challenging geography, physical obstacles, third party land and the distance the cabling must travel, can all impact complexity and costs.
5.7. If you don't pay any sums you owe us in full when due, we may refuse to build the Network (even if we have started work).
5.8. If you wish to discuss any issues about payments, please contact our Universal Services Helpdesk.
5.9. We will write to you (by email or letter) to confirm whether your Request has been accepted. Where Charges apply, we will accept your Request once we have received the Charges in full. At this point, a legally binding agreement to build the Network is formed between you and us.
5.10. This clause 5 continues to apply after the agreement with us has ended.
6. Can I change my mind?
6.1. If you change your mind, you can cancel your Request without giving a reason by calling the Universal Service Helpdesk:
6.1.1 where network build to your area has not yet been completed, within 30 days after you have paid us the Charges; or
6.2.1 where the network has been built to your general area but we still need to deliver the Network to your premise, within 14 days after you have paid us the Charges.
The agent will communicate the applicable period to you when you make a Request. This right applies even if we have already started work. If you cancel in this way, we shall refund you the Charges you’ve paid to us.
6.2. Subject to clauses 6.1 above and 7.1 below, the Charges are a non-refundable upfront charge and you agree that we can start or continue planning and building the Network on reliance of receiving the Charges from you to cover our costs of build.
7. Rights to end this agreement
7.1. You can end your agreement with us if we break a significant term of it.
7.2. If you wish to end this agreement, you should do so by notifying us via the Universal Service Helpdesk on 0800 783 0223. You can also notify us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by post at USO Helpdesk, Gosforth Park Way, Salters Lane, Gosforth Business Park, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE12 8ET.
7.3. We can end this agreement if you break a significant term of it. This includes if you fail to make any payment due to us by the due date.
7.4. In exceptional circumstances, we may not be able to complete the build of a Network due to matters beyond our reasonable control (see clause 11.3.1). If we are no longer able to provide the Network, or there will be a significant delay, we will let you know.
7.5. Where we have provided an Estimate not exceeding the Cost Threshold, and later find that the cost to fulfil your Request increases to over £6800, we may ask you to pay Charges above that amount. If this is the case, we will provide you with a Quote which sets out the Charges. If you choose not to pay those Charges, you can end your agreement with us, and we will cancel the Network build Request.
7.6. If you are a UK consumer, you have certain legal rights if we do not perform our obligations in accordance with consumer law and regulation. These rights are in addition to any specific rights included in these terms and conditions. You can read about your consumer rights at https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/
8. No personal rights in Network
8.1. The benefit of the Network stays with the address for which the Request is made, and not the person or business making the Request. If, for instance, you move home or business premises, this won’t allow you to cancel this agreement. You should therefore carefully consider whether you intend to stay at your address in the future to make use of a connection before deciding to pay the Charges.
9. Delivery and timescales
9.1. Openreach and other partners and/or subcontractors of BT will carry out the network build work on behalf of BT.
9.2. We will aim to build Network as soon as possible and within 24 months of the relevant Request where we can. However, building a network infrastructure can sometimes be delayed due to matters beyond our reasonable control. If we communicate any timeframes to you, you should treat these as an estimate only as timings may need to change. We will update you in writing if we become aware of significant delays.
9.3. We may sometimes need you to provide us with information, cooperation and access to your address to help us to build the Network. We won’t be responsible for any delays or failures that are caused by you not providing this.
9.4 If you ask to carry out some elements of the build yourself (‘self-dig’), you agree to carry out the self-dig work in accordance with specifications agreed with our surveyor, within agreed timeframes and to the defined standard. We will not be obliged to start or proceed with the network build until you have completed the self-dig works and will not be responsible for any failure or delay in the overall network build caused by the carrying out or non or late performance of the self-dig elements.
10. No rights in our network or equipment
10.1. Ownership and other rights in the Network, (including in all physical infrastructure and equipment) belongs exclusively to us. You won’t own or have other rights in the Network, even if the Network crosses your property or you have paid Charges. You’ll need to provide us with access to the Network for us to be able to provide and maintain the Network.
11. What we're not responsible for and limits on our liability
11.1. If our negligence causes death or personal injury, we accept responsibility and there is no limit to our liability. We also accept responsibility for our fraud, fraudulent statements or any other liability that the law does not allow us to exclude or limit.
11.2. We accept responsibility for loss of or damage to your physical property arising from our negligence. We'll pay up to £100,000 in total for any one event or series of connected events arising in any 12-month period.
11.3. Apart from responsibility we accept under clauses 11.1 and 11.2, we’re not responsible to you for the following:
11.3.1. Any delay or failure caused by something beyond our reasonable control. This could be things such as lightning, storms, flood, severe weather, fire, explosion, terrorist activities, epidemic or pandemic, riots or civil commotion, war, anything done by a government or other public authority, or strikes or other industrial action, lockouts or disputes.
11.3.2. You breaking the agreement.
11.3.3. You acting negligently or recklessly.
11.3.4. Any loss of, corruption of or release of data or information.
11.3.5. Where you have carried out any works yourself (e.g. if you self-dig any of the Network) or you are using any equipment we haven't supplied.
11.3.6. Losses which we couldn’t reasonably have expected when entering into the agreement.
11.3.7. If you are a consumer, any business losses.
11.3.8. If you are a business, then additionally any of the following losses:
i. loss of profit, revenue or anticipated savings;
ii. loss of business or contracts;
iii. loss of goodwill;
iv. loss from wasted expenditure, wasted time or business interruption;
v. liability to any third parties; and
vi. any special, indirect or consequential loss or damage.
11.4. We may have to suspend or vary how we provide the Network in order to deal with technical problems or make technical changes to reflect changes in relevant laws and regulatory requirements or Government guidance.
11.5. If you or we end the agreement, you must allow us to collect or on reasonable request, return any property you have of ours to us.
11.6. We will make good any damage to your property caused by us. However, we are not responsible for the cost of repairing any pre-existing faults or damage to your property, any damage caused by you, or any faults or damage that we discover while providing the Network.
12. How we will use your personal information
13. Sorting out complaints
13.1. If you have a complaint related to your current broadband service, including slow speeds, you need to call your existing service provider so they can help you.
13.2. If you need to contact us to sort out a problem about the USO Scheme process, our Complaints Code tells you how to do that and how we will deal with any complaint or dispute.
14. You can raise a complaint at any time. We will try to solve the issue quickly where we can, but there may be times when it may take a while to sort out.
14.1. We'll try our best to settle any complaint or dispute you have.
14.1.1. If we cannot agree a solution with you within 8 weeks of getting your complaint, or before the 8 weeks is up we agree in writing that the dispute should be settled by an independent adjudicator, you can refer it for 'alternative dispute resolution' by contacting the Ombudsman Services: Communications. You can find out more at ombudsman-services.org/communications or by phoning 0330 440 1614. The Ombudsman's service is free.
14.1.2. For businesses with over 10 employees:
If we cannot agree a solution with you after 14 days of getting your complaint it can be escalated to a senior executive of BT. If it is still not resolved 14 days after escalation you can seek resolution using mediation by writing to us with your intention. If we don’t agree between us on a mediator then one will be appointed by the London Court of International Arbitration.
15. Changes we may make
15.1. We may change these terms and conditions at any time to do the following:
i. Make the agreement clearer or easier for you to understand or change it in another way that doesn't significantly disadvantage you.
ii. Reflect changes to or developments in technology.
iii. Make minor changes to technical specifications.
iv. Reflect a change in our ability to provide the USO Scheme.
v. Reorganise the way we manage or run our business.
vi. Reflect any change to a law, code of practice, regulation, guidance or responsibility that applies to us.
15.2. We may need to make changes for a reason not listed in clause 15.1.
15.2.1. If we change these terms and conditions in a way that significantly disadvantages you, we’ll do the following:
i. We'll tell you at least 30 days before the change, unless we can't reasonably do that (for example, if the change is for legal or regulatory reasons, in which case we'll give you as much notice as possible).
ii. We'll give you the opportunity to give us 30 days' notice to end that service without having to pay any extra charges or a fee for leaving early. But you'll have to tell us that you want to do this within 30 days of the date of the notice that we send you.
15.3. We'll either write to you about any other changes or advertise the change another way, such as on our website.
16. Other important terms
16.1. The agreement is only between you and us. You cannot transfer it to anyone else or try to do so. We can transfer the agreement, and our rights and obligations under it, to anyone else (including if we reorganise the way we work), as long as it doesn't have a negative effect on your rights.
16.2. If a court or regulator decides that any of the paragraphs in these terms and conditions are unlawful, the remaining paragraphs will remain in full force and effect.
16.3. If we delay in taking steps against you if you break this agreement, that will not prevent us taking steps against you at a later date.
16.4. The agreement is made under English and Welsh law. Any disputes either of us cannot settle can only be decided in English and Welsh courts, unless:
16.4.1. you live in Scotland, in which case Scottish law applies and the courts of Scotland will settle disputes; or
16.4.2. you live in Northern Ireland, in which case the laws of Northern Ireland apply and the courts of Northern Ireland will settle disputes.
16.5. For information on our products and services for people with disabilities, go to bt.com/includingyou