Sunday, 08 November 2015 19:51

Fast broadband to become legal right

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Fast broadband to become legal right

Everyone will have a legal right to request a 10Mbps broadband speed by 2020, the Prime Minister has pledged.

David Cameron said the government was putting access to fast broadband on similar footing as other basic services.

The government would help ensure every home and business had access to fast broadband by the end of this Parliament, he said.

Treating broadband as a service like water and electricity would help to cement Britain's position as Europe's most digitised major economy.

Work is now starting on introducing a broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) with a government consultation expected in early 2016.

     See also: Rural firms demand better broadband

The ambition is to give people the legal right to request a connection to broadband with speeds of 10Mbps - no matter where they live.

"Access to the Internet shouldn't be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain," said Mr Cameron on Monday (2 November).

"That is why I'm announcing a giant leap in my digital mission for Britain.

"Just as our forebears effectively brought gas, electricity and water to all, we're going to bring fast broadband to every home and business that wants it.

"That's right: we're getting Britain – all of Britain – online, and on the way to becoming the most prosperous economy in the whole of Europe."

Fast broadband connectivity was now seen as a key service, essential not only for busy families but also for businesses and entrepreneurs across the UK.

The latest data from Ofcom confirmed that 10Mbps was the speed needed to meet the demands of today's typical family and many small business.

The government believes a USO will provide a 'safety net' so households and businesses get the broadband speeds needed to do business online, access key services or stream live TV.

It says more than three million homes and businesses across the UK already have access to superfast speeds (24 Mbps or better).

Ministers say the government is on track to reach 95% by the end of 2017 – a key part of a long-term economic plan to create more jobs, skills, growth and opportunities.

Later this year, Ofcom will release a new mobile app so that consumers will be able to check if their home wifi is working as it should be.

The telecoms watchdog is also planning to release more detailed, address-level mobile and broadband speed data next year.

The government says this will help people make more informed decisions about things like moving home or starting a business.

People in this conversation

  • Guest (Doric)


    While I welcome the introduction of the USO, I remain sceptical that the government will achieve this target using technical solutions that provide the hoped-for experience to the end-user. I feel it's likely that the government will fall back on satellite broadband as a universal panacea. Satellite broadband (which I've used for 10 years now) simply does not provide an acceptable performance for everyday use. The well-documented issues with latency feel more like dialup than fast broadband.

    from Salisbury, Salisbury, Wiltshire, UK
  • Guest (AAW)

    In reply to: Guest (Doric) Report

    Spot on, and likely why they've gone for 10MB min. as that's about the max from satellite.

    Plus, it's taken him long enough to announce even this mediocre minimum yet he seems to think it's an amazing policy. At the end of the day though we know he lies when it suits him and he'll waste money elsewhere and something important like broadband connectivity will again be left by the wayside. Incompetence doesn't cover it, though deliberately misleading for the PR comes close.

  • Guest (Peter Thornton)


    I agree that we must strongly resist the notion that satellite can be used to fulfil this commitment. But there is a theory around that BT have found ways of pushing the signal further down copper wire and this may be behind this announcement. Also that BT will be expected to raise their charges to cover the delivery to rural areas - which is of course how we got the telephone service in the first place.

  • Guest (Guest9Shropshire))


    I live one mile(as the crow flies)from a large BT routeing centre at Whittington,Shropshire BUT my land line will NOT support basic broadband let alone superfast broadband which I regularly see advertised on the back of Openreach vans-that's the closest I get to fibre optic cable.

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