The universal service includes a minimum set of specific services to all end-users at an affordable price.  

It is composed of two elements:  

  • The geographic element ; 
  • The social element. 

The Act of 13 June 2005 on electronic communications (hereafter “ECA”) and its annex 1 (hereafter “ECA annex 1”) lay down provisions applicable to the universal service. You will find below a short summary of these provisions. For more information, we recommend reading the relevant provisions. 

Each year, BIPT draws up a monitoring report concerning the universal service.

These reports are available here:

Geographic element 

Art. 70 ECA, Art. 3 to 21 and Art. 41 of the ECA annex 1

The fixed geographical element of the universal service consists in the provision of an adequate available broadband internet access service and of voice communications services at a fixed location.

These services are provided at an affordable price on the whole territory to anyone requesting it, regardless of their geographical location.

Currently, no provider of the geographic element of the universal service has been designated. 

Social element 

Art. 74 ECA, Art. 22 of the ECA annex 1

The social element of the universal service consistes until 1 March 2021 in the granting of tariff reductions for fixed telephony and/or fixed Internet of maximum 11.5 euro.

Beneficiaries of this old social tariff who applied prior to 1 March 2024, can continue to enjoy this tariff provided that none of the 5 situations resulting in the discontinuation of the current discount for the subscription applies to them. You will find more information with regard to this here.

As of 1 March 2024 certain categories of users can apply for a “social Internet offer” with a fixed Internet provider. You will find more information regarding the conditions for granting the social Internet offer on the website of the FPS Economy.

Any operator who, directly or indirectly, has a fixed access network that he uses to provide consumers with access to a broadband Internet access service and voice communications services at a fixed location, and whose turnover from the publicly available electronic communications services exceeds 50 million euros, is obliged to provide the social Internet offer.

Geographic element: quality requirements

Social element

Financing of the universal service

Directories, directory enquiry services and public pay telephones (former obligations)


This webpage is part of an EU quality network

Back to top