High-Speed Broadband Will Be A Legal Right For Homes & Businesses In UK

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Above Photo: From theverge.com

Of at least 10 Mbps by 2020

The UK Government has announced that homes and businesses will have a legal right to high-speed broadband of at least 10 Mbps by 2020. Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator, says that 10 Mbps is the minimum speed needed to meet the requirements of an average family. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport has plans for that to happen, and will set out the framework for a legal right to broadband in secondary legislation early next year.

The Department launched a consultation on the matter in the summer and has determined that only through a regulatory Universal Service Obligation (USO) could the required broadband speeds be met by 2020.

The Government also received a proposal from BT to deliver universal broadband through a voluntary agreement, but said it did not feel the proposal was strong enough to take the USO “off the table” and as such, would not pursue BT’s proposal. “We are grateful to BT for their proposal but have decided that only a regulatory approach will make high speed broadband a reality for everyone in the UK, regardless of where they live or work,” said Culture Secretary Karen Bradley in a statement. BT said it respects the Government’s decision.

Ofcom has previously noted that more than 1 million homes in the UK are unable to access sufficiently fast enough internet to do things like watch Netflix or YouTube videos. While the target speed is 10 Mbps, the UK Government notes that that minimum speed can be increased over time as requirements change. According to a recent report by Ofcom, 17 percent of homes and businesses in rural areas are unable to access decent broadband (at least 10 Mbps), and only 18 per cent of rural premises have access to a 4G signal.