Turning down BT’s offer of commitment to connect, the Government plans to give consumers the right to demand a broadband connection that would deliver download speeds of 10 Mbps by 2020, irrelevant as to where they are based in the UK.
This Universal Service Obligation (USO) regulation follows the same rules and practices as the fixed-line telecoms business and although BT has lobbied hard against this, it has not succeeded in staking its own claim to carry out the necessary work amidst concerns it would come at a cost to the consumer.
“We know how important broadband is to homes and businesses and we want everyone to benefit from a fast and reliable connection,” said Culture Secretary Karen Bradley.
“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. This is all part of our work on ensuring that Britain’s telecoms infrastructure is fit for the future and will continue to deliver the connectivity that consumers need in the digital age.”
This proposal of a Universal Service Obligation could mean those living in rural areas are likely to be waiting longer for the increased broadband speeds. On the upside, the government will have more say with regards to the state of play in the industry and this also satisfies other telecoms operators, such as Sky and Talk Talk, both of which had threatened legal action should the BT proposal be accepted.
The new regulation will mean customers will be able to demand a 10 Mbps broadband connection, the speed Ofcom has deemed as the minimum required to fully utilise the internet for work and play. Although some MP’s argue this speed is still too low, it is likely speeds will be increased over time.
The Government promise to meet speeds of 10 Mbps by 2020.
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