Brits will have rights to high-speed broadband by 2020
Newspaper reports have claimed that the Government may be reconsidering the option of completely separating telecoms giant BT from its United Kingdom broadband network business (Openreach), which is an approach that Ofcom rejected earlier this year (here) in favour of the less dramatic “legal separation” approach. The government has rejected a proposal from the network provider BT that would help improve speeds and has decided instead to opt for a universal service obligation (USO) that will make network speeds of at least 10 Mbps a requirement across the entire United Kingdom by 2020. Announced late yesterday by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DMCS), the new Universal Service Obligation (USO) would require that everyone in the United Kingdom has access to internet service providers (ISPs) offering connections no slower than 10Mb/s by 2020.
The government said that after careful consideration it had decided that regulation is “the best way of making sure everyone in the United Kingdom can get a decent broadband connection of at least 10 Mbps as soon as possible”. But ministers have made a decision to stick with their original plan and will now proceed along the regulatory route. The Government, however, felt the importance of universal broadband access required a regulatory hand in the matter.
We are grateful to BT for [its] proposal but have decided that only a regulatory approach will make high speed broadband a reality for everyone in the United Kingdom, regardless of where they live or work.
Homes and businesses will be able to demand faster broadband by 2020, the government has said. He said: “It is about having the right to demand it, so it will be an on-demand programme”. He also said the regulatory USO would not mean high-speed broadband was automatically delivered to every property.
If you don’t go on the internet and aren’t interested then you won’t phone up and demand this. “The drive to get the full fibre connections, the future-proof connections, started only a year ago”. This is the speed that Ofcom, the independent regulator, says is needed to meet the requirements of an average family.
Mr Trotman added: “Rural areas now stand a better chance of receiving a decent broadband service without BT monopolising the market and deciding its own terms for connection”.