Plans set out by government will help make sure 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, helping to cement Britain’s position as the most digitised major economy in Europe.
Work is now starting 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.
The Prime Minister David 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.
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.
Government is already taking steps to improve broadband experience for all consumers. Our investment means more than three million homes and businesses across the UK already have access to superfast speeds (24 Mbps or better) for the first time. We are on track to reach 95 per cent by the end of 2017 – a key part of the government’s long-term economic plan to bring more jobs, skills, growth and opportunities to the people of this country.
Culture Secretary John Whittingdale said:
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 per cent of UK homes and businesses. By next month, 3.5 million 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.
We also want 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. They are also planning to release even more detailed, address-level mobile and broadband speed data next year. This will help people make more informed decisions about things like moving home or starting a business.
Notes for editors
- The current USO for Internet access is set at 28.8 Kbps. The government is set to provide universal access to speeds of at least 2 Mbps by the end of this year. A new USO of 10 Mbps would see the minimum speed increase five fold.
- Homes and businesses can find out more about going superfast at www.gov.uk/gosuperfast.