BT steps forward to guarantee 10Mbps broadband coverage by 2020
However, this weekend BT announced its aim to provide the infrastructure for 99% of premises in the United Kingdom – to get broadband1 speeds of at least 10 megabits per second by 2020. All homes and businesses across the United Kingdom are set to benefit from universal high-speed broadband, the government announced, after BT offered voluntarily to offer the service across all parts of the United Kingdom, mainly delivered through Openreach2. “We warmly welcome BT’s offer and now will look at whether this or a regulatory approach works better for homes and businesses”, said Culture Secretary Karen Bradley in a weekend statement. It’s a problem that’s particularly common in rural areas, and BT has offered to stump up ?600 million to ensure that more rural homes have decent connections by 2020.
“Although broadband is increasingly considered to be an essential utility, the quality of customer services has simply not caught up with demand”, said Shapps.
It proposes using a range of technologies to deliver the service, including fibre to the cabinet, fibre to the home and fixed wireless. The UK government will now work with BT over the coming months to develop the proposal. The government suggested the BT proposal would mean many premises will receive substantially more than 10Mbps, with homes and businesses expected to receive connections more quickly than could be delivered under a regulatory approach. “The driving force behind our decision-making will be making sure we get the best deal for consumers”.
Which? recently revealed the worst (and best) broadband speeds in the United Kingdom with Scotland coming out as a part of the country that was particularly suffering. The report, led by MP Grant Shapps and signed by 56 of his colleagues, claimed Ofcom’s3 current connectivity data “fails to distinguish between the take-up and availability of superfast broadband”.
BT’s proposal does not include any public funding. “We have already subsidised superfast broadband to the tune of ?1.7bn”, he said.
While the United Kingdom enjoys a fairly decent level of broadband coverage, there are still plenty of people struggling with relatively slow connections. “There may be research needed on why some areas seem to have lower take-up than others, and the reasons are going to be very varied, just like the nature of towns and villages across the United Kingdom varies”, he concluded.