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BT offers to bring 10Mbps broadband to 99% of the UK

According to BT’s CEO, Gavin Patterson, the initiative is meant to ensure that all premises in the United Kingdom will have access to faster broadband1. This would be in place of the government’s now proposed universal service obligation2 that would make it a legal right of every person in the United Kingdom to demand broadband speeds of at least 10Mbps. Whether the government goes with the proposal has yet to be decided but two questions arise from BT’s offer – who pays for it and at a time when broadband speeds are running many times higher is the promise of 10Mbps adequate?

In a statement3, Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: “We warmly welcome BT’s offer and now will look at whether this or a regulatory approach works better for homes and businesses”.

Millions of users across the United Kingdom are still not getting the minimum standard of internet connectivity needed to enjoy the benefits of modern networks, according to the Broadbad 2.0 report, which has been signed by 57 MPs from all of the three main parties. BT has offered to proactively build the required network infrastructure, instead of waiting to do this on request. This would include completing a fixed network by December 2021 or December 2022 and introducing a fixed wireless service before this.

The next step for the government is to consider BT’s offer and whether it can simply dump the idea of a USO as unnecessary. “The driving force behind our decision-making will be making sure we get the best deal for consumers”. In the report, BIG claimed that there were still 6.7 million premises in the United Kingdom that could not access a service of over 10Mbps, and not 1.4 million, as regulator Ofcom4 said in its most recent data, which dates from April and May 2016. The report states: “The data recording these connections, produced by Ofcom, does not differentiate between those customers that have actively chosen not to take up superfast broadband”.

The broadband industry and independent experts have criticised a “comprehensive” investigation backed by 57 cross-party MPs claiming as many as 6.7 million homes and businesses can’t receive the 10Mbps rate that could form part of a universal broadband obligation (USO5).

“This latest broadbad 2.0 report raises some interesting points for discussion but in the political and fake news environment that exists in 2017 we feel the report is actually going to damage the United Kingdom broadband picture”, said Andrew Ferguson, editor of Thinkbroadband.com.

References

  1. ^ broadband (www.techradar.com)
  2. ^ universal service obligation (www.techradar.com)
  3. ^ In a statement (www.theguardian.com)
  4. ^ Ofcom (lightreading.com)
  5. ^ form part of a universal broadband obligation (USO (www.silicon.co.uk)

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