9th November 2015
The government has pledged to ensure that every home and business can have access to fast broadband by the end of this Parliament.
Speaking on Monday, Prime Minister David Cameron will talk about the government’s intention to put access to broadband on a similar footing as other basic services like water and electricity.
Work has started on introducing a broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO) with the ambition to give people the legal right to request a connection to broadband with speeds of 10 Mbps, no matter where they live.
Cameron said: “Access to the internet shouldn’t be a luxury; it should be a right – absolutely fundamental to life in 21st century Britain. 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 is 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 confirms 10 Mbps is the speed needed to meet the demands of today’s typical family and many small business.
The government said that a USO will provide a “safety net” to make sure that households and businesses can get the broadband speeds needed to do business online, access key services or stream live TV. It can be upgraded over time as technology and demand evolve. The government will be consulting on this in early 2016.
Culture secretary John Whittingdale added: “The UK’s digital landscape is being transformed – our rollout of superfast broadband is helping millions of people who would otherwise have missed out to get online. Coverage has already reached more than 83% of UK homes and businesses.
“By next month, 3.5m more UK homes and businesses will have access to superfast speeds – and the government’s superfast programme is on track to extend that to 95% by the end of 2017.”
The government added that it also wants to make sure consumers have more transparency about the service they are getting. Later this year, Ofcom will release a new mobile app so that consumers will be able to check if their home Wi-Fi is working as it should be.