All homes and businesses across the UK are guaranteed to have high-speed broadband by 2020 after the government decided to make it a legal right.
The announcement comes after Ofcom revealed that over one million Britons are still without super-fast Wi-Fi across the UK, despite Digital Minister Matt Hancock striving to make the country a world leader in full-fibre and have 95% of the UK covered by the end of this year.
Ofcom outlined that the necessary speed to meet the requirements of the average household is 10Mpbs. Now, the government vows every home and business will have this access by right by 2020.
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said: “We know how important broadband is to homes and businesses and we want everyone to benefit from a fast and reliable connection.”
Earlier this year BT offered to deliver universal broadband through a voluntary agreement, which was carefully considered by the government. However to deliver this promise the government feels BT’s offer was not sufficient to meet the expectations of households.
“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,” said Bradley.
The need for superfast broadband has increased for Britons by 52% in comparison to last year, as the average connections in a single household have increased to 200GB of data each month. Now, this proposal from the government aims to provide the minimum UK residents need today and in the future.
Aside from obvious advantages of superfast broadband, low latency and easy access for consumers other benefits include the speed of connection having the potential to be increased over time as the consumers’ connectivity needs change.
It can benefit businesses by ensuring they are always connected and places a legal requirement for broadband providers to give customers what is requested, subject to a cost threshold.
Alastair Masson, Head of Telco Media at NTT DATA, said: “Faster broadband will reinvent the UK’s network infrastructure and strengthen the economy ready for a potentially challenging post-Brexit environment. That being said, how it is ultimately managed and enforced will be critical to its success or failure in the UK.”
The government aims to set out how the legal right will work through a secondary legislation next year, following the launch of its regulatory universal service obligation in the summer.
Following this, the legal right introduction is estimated to take Ofcom around two years meaning the whole of the UK will have access to high-speed broadband by 2020.
Bradley said: “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.”